Monday, 8 February 2016

News roundup: The next Sengoku Basara stage play is going back to Honnouji

The next entry in the stage play series has been announced

In between closing the current stage play's run and posting cute pictures on Twitter, the Butai Sengoku Basara team found time to announce the newest stage play as Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi drew to a close.

The next entry in the series will be titled Zangeki Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi: Honnouji No Hen ('Swordplay Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi: Incident At Honnouji'). Interestingly, they've changed the 'Butai' ('Stage') in the official title to 'Zangeki' which usually means a slashing attack, except the second character uses a different character meaning 'play'. I'm struggling to find a concise way to write that in English without ending up with something inadvertently invoking another meaning of the English word 'slash', so please forgive my inelegant attempt at a translation which approximates the deliberate double meaning of the original. I'll call it Zangeki Sengoku Basara for short.

It's being reported that the new title indicates that there will be a deeper focus on the combat scenes from now on and the staff are going to try to make even more adventurous fights. Social media reactions have been mostly positive so far. We already know the Sengoku Basara version(s) of the Honnouji story pretty well at this point.

There's a video on the official site (all of the actual footage is from the previous play).

The new play will be performed eighteen times in total across two venues: at the Zepp Blue Theater Roppongi in Tokyo (1st July - 10th July 2016) and at the Umeda Arts Theater's Theater DramaCity hall in Osaka (16th July - 18th July 2016). Cast and ticketing information will be revealed at a later date.

The results of the second official online Basa-ranking survey

The second official Basa-ranking survey was for the game which fans thought had the best gameplay mechanics. The results have been tallied and the final ranking is as follows:

1. Sengoku Basara 4
2. Sengoku Basara 3 Utage
3. Sengoku Basara 3
4. Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (HEROES)
5. Sengoku Basara 2
6. Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes
7. Sengoku Basara X (Cross)
8. Sengoku Basara
9. Sengoku Basara Chronicle Heroes
10. Sengoku Basara HD Collection

The special smartphone lock screen images based on the winning game can be downloaded here.

The third survey is now available too in the usual place. This time, the team wants to know which game's story interested you the most. Click the gold-coloured button underneath the picture of the game with your favourite storyline and then click OK to register your vote! The voting will end at noon on 29th February 2016.

They should really replace the HD Collection with Sumeragi in the options; it's just way too confusing this way!

Another guest is announced for March's Basara Matsuri event

It's only a month away now but the announcements are still coming! Okiayu Ryoutarou (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) is the latest seiyuu guest confirmed for the Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Matsuri ~Feast of Ten Years, Ten Shades~ event, which he will be attending on Sunday 6th March 2016. The guest list is looking quite impressive by now.

A new fan club gathering: Basara Club Fan Meeting 2016 Spring

If two days of Basara Matsuri aren't enough, fans who happen to belong to the official fan club can look forward to two additional 90-minute gatherings on Saturday 28th May 2016. The Basara Club Fan Meeting 2016 Spring will take place in Tokyo's Nissho Hall and a number of special guests have been confirmed.

Afternoon show (14:00): Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari's voice actor), Koyama Rikiya (Kuroda Kanbee's voice actor), Fujita Ray (Shibata Katsuie in the stage play), Shiramata Atsushi (Chousokabe Motochika in the stage play), Kobayashi Hiroyuki (series producer)

Evening show (18:00): Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu's voice actor), Hayami Shou (Akechi Mitsuhide/Tenkai's voice actor), Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura in the stage play), Shiina Taizou (Sarutobi Sasuke/Mori Ranmaru in the stage play), Kobayashi Hiroyuki (series producer)

I bet they'll be revealing a few details about the new game at these fan meetings!

Mobile phone stands for each character will be available from e-Capcom after all

Remember the 51 different mobile phone stands which e-Capcom was accepting reservations for a little while ago? It's since been decided that all 51 designs will be made available after all, rather than only the options which receive enough preorders.

The Sengoku Basara 10th Bushou Ransen Mobile Stands are exclusive to e-Capcom and cost ¥2,500 (¥2,700 with tax) apiece. Delivery is expected to take place on 14th April 2016.

Preorders need to be placed by the end of February, and as e-Capcom doesn't accept foreign orders (or foreign credit cards) it's likely that fans outside Japan will need to use a deputy service to make a purchase.

The Sengoku Basara series might be reaching out to a global audience again soon

Perhaps the biggest news of all though over the last couple of weeks is the single tweet on the official Sengoku Basara account which reveals that an official Chinese language edition of Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den is on the way this summer. The games have been distributed across the Asian region for a while but they have been left in their original language, which is obviously not terrifically convenient for the majority of players even if the prices tend to be lower than importing the Japanese editions.

The same tweet also urges fans to keep looking out for news about further 'worldwide' plans for the series. I don't want to get my hopes up, but if they do manage to try expanding internationally again I'll certainly be doing my best to support the Sengoku Basara team!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Event report: Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi

It won't be possible for me to make it to March's huge Basara Matsuri celebration in Japan this year due to work commitments, so to soften the blow I decided to take a trip to Tokyo this month instead to see the newest stage play: Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi. It's been a busy few days with lots of castles and shops to visit, but I've finally found the time to write a few thoughts about my experience. In short, it was fantastic.

It's been more than a year since Butai Sengoku Basara 4, and since my DVD copy of the Devil May Cry crossover play arrived too late this was my first chance to see a play staged by the new production company which now manages the series. As a huge fan of the original Butai Sengoku Basara series it was impossible to avoid some concern about how the changes would affect things - most of the old cast members have moved on by now, and I feel a lingering sense of loyalty towards the old staff members. Even the familiar team of black-clad extras is full of new faces.

Then there's the plot - Sumeragi has a huge number of sprawling interconnected storylines loosely tied together by the presence of Ashikaga Yoshiteru. Yet his story was already covered in Butai Sengoku Basara 4 back in 2014 and he wasn't even scheduled to appear this time. How well would the new play's staff be able to tie the story together into a coherent narrative?

With these questions lingering in the back of my mind I managed to order my ticket early enough to win one of the fan club seats in the lottery. It was a great ticket - six rows from the stage, right in the middle. A perfect view, made even more fun by the fact that the actors passed by less than a metre from my position several times during the show.

Before I get started on my personal impressions, I'll include some facts about the play. Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi is running between 21st January and 7th February 2016, comprising 22 performances across two locations: Zepp Blue Theater Roppongi in Tokyo and Sankei Hall Breeze in Tokyo.

I went to one of the Tokyo shows

The play is split into two parts (70 minutes and 65 minutes) with a 15 minute interval in between if you're seeing it live. Several of the shows have bonus talk sessions after the finale where the audience can see the actors fooling around out of character

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

Shiono Akihisa (Date Masamune)
Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura)
Inoue Masahiro (Katakura Kojuurou)
Shiina Taizou (Sarutobi Sasuke)
Kotani Yoshikazu (Mouri Motonari)
Shiramata Atsushi (Chousokabe Motochika)
Sakurada Kousei (Azai Nagamasa)
Sueno Takuma (Fuuma Kotarou)
Kawamura Yukie (Tsuruhime)
Mamoru Asana (Saika Magoichi)
Fujita Ray (Shibata Katsuie)
Juri (Sen No Rikyuu)
Matsuda Kenji (Matsunaga Hisahide)

In addition, Nakayama Yuuki and Yamaguchi Tomoya of boy band SOLIDEMO appear as members of Motochika's crew.

Composition and direction is credited to Ujigawa Masanari. The Sengoku Basara game series' scenario writer Matsuno Izuru assisted with the story and creators KobaP and YamamotoD worked on planning and supervision. This is important as the play contains new material which hasn't featured in the games to date; the staff have gone on record in the past to say that they sometimes try out new content in the stage play to help them monitor the audience reactions. Will we see some of these scenes appearing in future games?

The rest of this post contains spoilers for Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi and the game series itself as well as a few of my personal opinions.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Streaming: Winter 2016 anime first impressions

What a bizarre season this is shaping up to be! The UK streaming situation is always a mess, with a different jumble of underfunded, confused companies splitting all of the simulcasts haphazardly between themselves and leaving the average viewer struggling to watch the shows they want.

This time, Funimation have finally stepped up to the plate after years of grabbing UK rights for titles they had no intention of allowing UK viewers to watch and announced that they'll be giving us access to their relaunched 'Funimation Now' streaming service in February. To help us wait for the Funimation content to become available, Daisuki are streaming five of their shows on a one-week delay. Not ideal, but at least Daisuki always publish titles on a regular schedule.

Crunchyroll have an excellent lineup this time around too, with (mostly) worldwide rights for most titles. We also had some activity from The Anime Network (Sentai) who decided to announced that they would stream their titles to the UK themselves instead of adding them to Crunchyroll. In truth their own service is exceptionally expensive for what you get in the UK - three simulcasts and half a dozen catalogue titles - but it's nice to be remembered.

It's easily the best anime season we've ever had in terms of UK availability.

Viewster and Animax seem to be sitting the next few months out entirely - Viewster has one new delaycast but it's a continuation of a title licensed for a previous season, and Animax was completely quiet until a handful of Funimation shows were silently listed on its site. No episodes are available at the time of writing this three weeks into the season, however, so I'm unable to add any further commentary. Neither Viewster nor Animax can keep to a regular schedule and they're difficult to recommend.

Several series are continuing from autumn, namely Haikyuu!!, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and Gintama.

Some shows are continuing from previous seasons, too

Thursday, 21 January 2016

News roundup: Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi starts its theatre run today

It looks as though this is going to be another week with no magazine updates. I'm not expecting any news to break next week so I guess Capcom are busy promoting the new stage play at the moment.

The last batch of stage play updates before the show commences

The Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi stage play starts its run today, so we can expect a range of reports from the media very soon. In the meantime, there's an official video message from none other than Fuuma Kotarou:

There are also a few more videos (with actual speech) on the official YouTube channel here. The actors talk about their characters and it's a good opportunity to see their costumes up close. Fujita Ray's Katsuie looks better than ever.

I hope that I receive a response from the production company about a wider release for the DVD versions soon...

Previews of the official stage play merchandise

It wouldn't be a Sengoku Basara tie-in without a selection of new merchandise to buy, and Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi should satisfy fans of the performers with its offerings. First in the list is the official 34-page A4 programme for ¥2,000:

Thirteen different five-piece sets of photographs of the actors and actresses for ¥1,000 each:

A muffler towel covered in weapon designs for ¥2,000:

A set of two A4 clear files for ¥1,000:

And thirteen different randomly-packed 56mm tin badges for ¥300 each:

Stage play attendees can also enjoy a taste of Sengoku Basara near the venue

To celebrate the stage play's run, the Roppongi branch of the Pasela Resorts karaoke and entertainment chain - which happens to be very close to the theatre - is offering a special menu until 7th February 2016. Most of the dishes have appeared in the past at other Pasela venues such as the Three Monkeys Cafe tie-in and karaoke menu last year. Fans who order the Sengoku Basara food and drinks will receive one of forty different character coasters with each item.

Cover artwork for the next Sengoku Basara drama CD release

The Animate TV website has posted preview images showing the cover artwork for February's new drama CD. Drama Yose CD Sengoku Basara -Tokugawa Ieyasu & Ishida Mitsunari- has an eerie theme which should suit the storyline that was teased where Ieyasu, Mitsunari, Sakon and Katsuie all end up taking shelter together during a storm. It's not really the season for ghost stories but that's the atmosphere we seem to be getting!

The preview also includes a sample of the illustration used for the Animate-exclusive keychain for this volume.

Updates from the current Sengoku Basara radio show

Animate has published an interview with seiyuu Ishida Akira (Takenaka Hanbee) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) to accompany the second episode of the Sengoku Basara -Nekketsu! Yose Raji!- ('Sengoku Basara: Hot-blooded! Variety Theatre Radio!') radio show. It's very short, but Hoshi mentions that he'd like to have Sen No Rikyuu's voice actor Sakurai Takahiro on the show and Ishida hints that they'll probably be able to share more information about the new Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den game as times goes on.


Well, that's all for now! I'll be travelling for the next few days - an attempt to recover from my recent period of overwork - so updates might be even slower than usual. I'm still looking forward to hearing more information about the new game as soon as it's available.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

News roundup: We're still waiting for game news, so here's more about vacuum cleaners and suitcases

It's magazine day in Japan but it doesn't look as though either Weekly Famitsu or Dengeki PlayStation have any new information for us this time. I'm going to make a wild guess and say that next week's Weekly Famitsu is the most likely time for Capcom's next batch of news, otherwise it might still be a little while away. We might get some hints on Monday/Tuesday when they post their magazine preview articles.

The stage play website updates to show the last new actors in costume

It's not long until Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi debuts so preview pictures of Kojuurou, Sasuke and Sen No Rikyuu have been posted on the official website. I'm not too convinced by Rikyuu's facial expressions but the costumes are certainly looking good; it's going to be great to eventually see them all in action. I'm a little worried that so many of the show dates are still far from being sold out.

Edit: Famitsu has posted a compilation article with better pictures of Rikyuu.

In Japan right now? Experience the Date Masamune vacuum cleaner in person

The preorder period for the upcoming Sengoku Basara Premium Cocorobo vacuum cleaner ends on 18th January 2016, so SHARP have organised some special preview events to show off this very exclusive piece of merchandise.

The first event is scheduled for tomorrow (14th January 2016) between 19:00 and 21:00 at the Nico Nico Honsha event space in Ikebukuro. The venue's capacity is limited and if demand is high signups for the hands-on demonstration will be halted. Attendees will receive a special sticker illustrated by Mikami.

Mikami incidentally provided the illustrations used by the cleaner when it communicates with its owners via the Cocoroboard smartphone app.

After that, the next opportunity to talk to the cleaner will be on the 16th and 17th January 2016 when it will be present in the Karaoke Pasela reception area in front of the Capcom Bar in Shinjuku between 11:00 and 19:00 each day.

If you're not in Japan - like most people reading this - Capcom TV kindly posted their own news bulletin about the vacuum cleaner here. The news update recaps a few other announcements before getting to the segment with their reactions to experiencing the cleaner's voice controls, alarm clock and weather report features.

e-Capcom makes even more Sengoku Basara suitcases available

The extravagant 31L Sengoku Basara carry cases are back on e-Capcom, with a whole host of brand new designs for fans of Ieyasu, Motonari, Motochika, Sakon, Katsuie, Kojuurou and Sasuke. Each case costs ¥30,000 before tax and delivery is scheduled for 24th March 2016.

In addition, the previous carry cases will be made available again for those who missed out.

The specification of the Masamune, Yukimura and Mitsunari designs hasn't changed.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

News roundup: Vocal songs, Monster Hunter Explore and a few updates about the new stage play

Sample the new Sengoku Basara vocal CD with a preview video

The release of the Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Warrior Themes Vocal Collection CD is just ten days away now, and Avex have obligingly uploaded a preview video with clips from some of the songs. I rather like it...

Edit: The official site is now live too with lyrics and samples of the full list of songs.

The latest Sengoku Basara gaming news from Japanese magazines

As I mentioned on Twitter last week, the 21st January 2016 issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine didn't include any new coverage about the upcoming Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-hen game. Instead, KobaP participated in a two-page interview about game tie-ins which looked back at some of the memorable collaborations over the history of the Sengoku Basara series.

KobaP mentioned that KobaP won't have all that many collaborations (in comparison, Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi had a lot) but they have some interesting things planned. He noted that he really wants to show off the fighting styles and voice actors for the new characters Sanada Masayuki and Nobuyuki.

Coupled with his comments in mid-December I strongly suspect that at least one of the two new Sanada clan members will be playable in the new game; possibly both of them.

The usual pattern for new information is that Weekly Famitsu breaks it first then Dengeki PlayStation covers it the week after; if that holds true then I would guess we'll hear more on 21st January. However, this is purely speculation and nothing is stopping Capcom from suddenly releasing new information at any time.

The latest Sengoku Basara crossover is with Monster Hunter Explore

Hot on the heels of KobaP's interview, news broke the next day about a new collaboration with iOS/Android title Monster Hunter Explore. Fans of the game will be able to obtain special in-game equipment based on Sengoku Basara between 14th January and 29th January 2016.

There will be four different three-piece armour sets available for player characters. The Azure Dragon's Armour (Blademaster) and Azure Dragon's Haori (Gunner) sets are lightning elemental while the Akazonae are fire. The armour sets resemble the costumes of Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura from Sengoku Basara, of course.

It will also be possible to obtain four weapons. There are one-sword and six-sword versions of Masamune's Kagehide blade, as well as dual and juumonji versions of Yukimura's Shura spears.

(Please forgive any translation issues as I'm not too familiar with Monster Hunter conventions. The juumonji versions of the spears look more like Yukimura's Shakubou to me, but I'm sticking to the naming on the official site for now.)

More cast photographs unveiled for Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi

The Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi stage play is starting its run in less than two weeks too, and they've been regularly updating their website with pictures of the cast members in costume. Larger versions can be found on Twitter and Facebook. There are also a few brief video clips with interviews with the actors for Masamune, Yukimura and Motochika.

Speaking of the stage play series, the DVD release of Butai Sengoku Basara 4 has had a few problems as they have been unable to keep up with demand; even people who ordered as soon as the listing went live are still waiting for their copies. The Ace Shop staff have been very apologetic. I suppose that this means the release has been a success, even if fans are still waiting to actually see the show.

Friday, 1 January 2016

News roundup: Happy New Year, Sengoku Basara fans!

The Sengoku Basara news kept on rolling out over Christmas before taking a break for the New Year. I'm going to have to do some catching up today!

Catch up on the classic Sengoku Basara games with the Winter Stylish Action SALE

Capcom is celebrating the holiday period with a sale on the Japanese PlayStation Store. Fans who purchase classic Sengoku Basara games between Christmas Eve and 4th January 2016 will be able to enjoy big discounts!

The original Sengoku Basara, Sengoku Basara 2 and Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (HEROES) are selling for ¥329 apiece as 'PS2 Archive' titles on PS3 instead of the usual ¥823. The handheld titles are also discounted; Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes is currently just ¥280 (usually ¥700) and Sengoku Basara Chronicle Heroes is down to ¥800 (usually ¥2,000).

In addition, Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi is on sale at a 30% discount, costing ¥4,193 for PS3 (usually ¥5,990) and ¥4,893 for PS4 (usually ¥6,990).

An official event report from Jump Festa

Capcom has published an event report from Jump Festa covering KobaP's stage presentation. There are a few new pictures (and comical moments, such as the description of Ashigaru-kun participating in the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi gameplay challenge and not doing so well). The only potentially new item about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den in the article is a mention that an Osaka Siege azure-crimson clash between Yukimura and Masamune is set to be the climax of the game's story.

Incidentally, I didn't have time to mention it previously but fan Mewshuji spotted the Houjou crest in the Masamune scenes from the Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den trailer almost as soon as it was published.

This bodes well for the return of Ujimasa, who has been absent from the main series for a little while now. Great! I think some of the less popular characters will really benefit by appearing in a game with a smaller roster so they don't end up forgotten.

The first episode of the new Sengoku Basara radio show is now available

The first episode of the Sengoku Basara -Nekketsu! Yose Raji!- ('Sengoku Basara: Hot-blooded! Variety Theatre Radio!') radio show launched on Christmas Day as planned, and it's possible to tune in and listen by clicking on the 'FLASH' or 'WMP' buttons on this page. Obnoxiously, it's region locked, so fans outside Japan will need to use a region unblocking tool of some kind in order to listen. I don't really understand the purpose in region locking audio shows in languages which aren't widely spoken across the world, but what do I know?

Anyway, the guest for the first 41-minute episode is Ishida Akira (Takenaka Hanbee), and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) is hosting. The second episode will go live on 8th January 2016.

Missed out on the Eagle Talon tie-in merchandise? Check out the DLE store

The collaboration between Sengoku Basara and Frogman's Himitsu Kessha Taka No Tsume (Secret Society Eagle Talon) series back in summer led to a little merchandise. Well, fans who missed the exhibition can now purchase the goods from the official DLE store. There's a lot of variety, so if you've ever had a yearning for your favourite characters in bear form it might be worth checking out.

e-Capcom plans a range of Sengoku Basara mobile phone stands

A special page has appeared on the e-Capcom website offering the chance for fans to 'vote' on 51 different designs for mobile stands based on the Sengoku Basara characters in one of the most unnecessarily complicated merchandise strategies for which I've had the pleasure of translating the instructions. All 51 main characters from the series are available as potential designs.

The acrylic stands can be used to hold your smartphone, or simply as decorations. They're approximately 200-250mm tall, depending on the character.

Called the Sengoku Basara 10th Bushou Ransen Mobile Stands, each costs ¥2,500 (¥2,700 with tax) and they'll only be available through e-Capcom. Delivery is expected to take place in March 2016.

There's a catch, however. Even though 51 designs are available and this is a rare chance for fans to take home merchandise for some of the series' least popular characters, only the designs which receive a minimum number of orders will actually be produced.

There's no detailed information about the minimum order quantity; it could be 2 preorders or 200. Fans who want to apply simply make reservations on the e-Capcom website as usual. If the minimum order quantity is met, they'll be charged for all of the stands they reserved and receive them in March as normal. If it's not, the stands which didn't pass the order threshold will be cancelled automatically. Fans outside Japan will have to use a deputy service as e-Capcom don't support non-Japanese orders.

I sort of hope that e-Capcom reveals which stands made the cut once the preorder period is closed. It will be interesting to see.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Streaming: Autumn 2015 anime final impressions

My personal life has been horrendously busy lately, and not in a good way - work has quite literally taken over my life. I didn't even notice Christmas even though I'm supposed to be relaxing now (in some strange universe where working every hour I'm awake is 'relaxing'). I'm not sure how great the quality of my writing will be under the circumstances, but tradition is tradition and now that the autumn 2015 anime season is over I want to post my thoughts about the shows I watched from the fragments of it which my sleep deprived brain can still remember.

Nothing much has changed with the UK-friendly streaming providers, and FUNimation have apparently been selling a few exclusivity contracts to companies like Animax, which is frustrating when Animax's service isn't very good. Exclusivity contracts suck for fans. I still have no idea when anything not on Crunchyroll or Daisuki goes live because Viewster and Animax don't really do schedules or announcements properly. Speaking of Viewster, I think I'm falling out of love with them now they seem to be holding back all of the features I actually want behind their expensive Omakase service. I have way too much Sengoku Basara merchandise lying around to even begin to consider paying a premium for a bunch of anime-related toys I don't want.

Anyway, my ranking hasn't changed much, except that Dance With Devils became available to the UK and upstaged everything else with its inherent stupidity. It turns out that fluffy supernatural shows are exactly what I need when I'm exhausted.

1. Dance With Devils
2. Gintama
3. Diabolik Lovers

The new Mobile Suit Gundam almost made it into the list too. The story gets a little weak from time to time and the strange hairstyles bother me, but those fantastic climaxes as the end of each episode have been way too exciting. It's a shame its UK streaming arrangement isn't that great.

'Twas the season of demons and vampires

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

News: Dengeki PlayStation vol. 605 (14th January 2016) includes a Sanada Yukimura-den interview (updated with video!)

As we already knew from the leaks a few days ago, the newest issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine released this week featured some Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den content.

I have now purchased the magazine, so here's my summary. Most of the article is a recap of the information revealed last week but there's a new interview with KobaP and producer Nonaka at the end. Some of this information is very similar to what we've heard before; I've skipped the parts which were exactly the same.
  • The first question from the interviewer asked why the staff had changed, since the team of KobaP and YamamotoD has been associated so closely with the Sengoku Basara games in the past. KobaP explained that he nominated Nonaka as producer this time; he wanted this title to be different to the previous games in the series.
  • As for YamamotoD, his workload has become so great that it was decided that director Tanaka Toshihiro would join the project too. Of course, YamamotoD is still involved when it comes to character design, story ideas and planning out the game. Tanaka is in charge of the main story and YamamotoD is supervising.
  • Since this is the first game which focuses on a single character, picking the title gave them some trouble. They came up with the name Retsuden Series to show that they were making a single long story focused on a single warrior.
  • (Raindrops' note: As I said before, Retsuden is an ordinary word which means 'chronicle' or 'life story' but they deliberately write it slightly differently to give it the connotation of being an intense, hot-blooded story.)
  • The reason Yukimura was chosen for the first game in this series is that they wanted to showcase a prominent moment in the history of the Sengoku period, like they did with the Battle of Sekigahara in Sengoku Basara 3. They settled on the Siege of Osaka. Since it's the 400th anniversary of the conflict, they thought it would be perfect to have a story with Yukimura as the lead.
  • It's also an appropriate way to celebrate the series' tenth anniversary since Yukimura was one of the two leads in the very first game.
  • Focusing on a single character wouldn't have been feasible if they had chosen to make Sengoku Basara 5 instead.
  • Nonaka followed up with a longer explanation. In the main Sengoku Basara series there are many warriors, and one of the charms of the games is that each one of them can be the 'main character'. They wouldn't have been able to concentrate on a single storyline with one main character without the Retsuden Series. Not many of the warriors in the game were directly connected to the Siege of Osaka but Yukimura played a key role. They realised that by covering the story of his life they'd be able to delve deeply into the Siege of Osaka.
  • KobaP would be delighted if people could pay close attention to the bonds between Yukimura and his older brother, and between Yukimura and his father. He hopes the fans will try to come up with their own theories based on historical records while they wait for further information.
  • Since the story draws from actual history, some character relationships and backgrounds will be a little different this time. In some cases, characters who know each other in the main Sengoku Basara games didn't interact historically. As a result their relationships have been altered for this game.
  • KobaP elaborated further; games like Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi are essentially 'what if?' scenarios. Since this game isn't like that, it's tough for them to include characters who weren't involved historically. They don't want to go against established history so they reluctantly decided that some characters wouldn't be appearing at all.
  • The interviewer asked about Sasuke, noting that he has a deep relationship with Yukimura in the series despite being a fictitious character. KobaP refused to answer, saying it was still a secret at this point.
  • Instead, he mentioned that Shingen and Yukimura's interactions were the same kind of thing, 'what if?' scenarios rather than historical events. Since Yukimura's father and older brother are appearing this time, Yukimura's position has changed with regards to Shingen. These examples show that the world of Sanada Yukimura-den is different, with its own characteristics.
  • However, the new continuity won't affect the personalities of the existing Sengoku Basara characters who appear in the game. Some relationships have changed, but don't worry, the warriors' individual personalities and voice actors haven't.
  • The new trailer (from Jump Festa) is going to appear on the game's official website on Christmas Eve.
  • In the trailer, Yukimura is shown as he faces his final battle - the Osaka Summer Siege. In the actual game, he gradually matures into the 'unprecedented' Yukimura shown in the video.
  • Nonaka wanted to show Yukimura growing over the course of the game, so his appearance and weapons become flashier over time. Yukimura's association with fire is strong so the flame imagery is at the forefront.
  • KobaP noted that he has more aerial moves this time. It's a good match for the phoenix imagery on his new outfit.
  • We can look forward to a story which has both Yukimura-style hot-blooded content and serious moments.
  • Masamune uses his six-claw style all the time in this game. We can expect new moves which make use of the six swords.
  • Since this is a new game, there are new gameplay elements. But we have to wait for further details.
  • Nonaka said that there are also new elements to keep people coming back and playing after they complete the main story.
  • KobaP added that there's only one story so to keep people wanting to play, they've included all kinds of Basara-ish things. The stages have been put together especially for this game so they're different to before, and the stages have different win conditions. They can't say more for now.
  • However, the difficulty level hasn't changed. It's possible to play in a relaxed way as usual, sitting back and enjoying the solemn story. People who want more of a challenge can select a higher difficulty.
  • It's appeared in previous games but since Osaka Castle is the climax of the game, it's a completely new stage this time around.
  • KobaP joked that this Osaka Castle looks very flashy from outside.
  • Although Tokugawa Ieyasu was an old man by the time of the Osaka Summer Siege in real life, they haven't retained that element in the game (lol).
  • Please expect all of the returning Sengoku Basara characters to look the same as usual. Nonaka wants to surpass the fans' expectations when it comes to making the characters stronger, but he doesn't think there's any need to change their core character concepts. So there won't be any dramatic alterations like changing their ages.
  • Nonaka thinks there are many characters in the series who would work as a lead in a future Retsuden Series game. If it was his decision, he'd like to make a game about Xavi! Honda Tadakatsu would also make an interesting lead for a future title.
  • KobaP thinks that they'll end the Retsuden Series if it isn't well received. Even though he's a little nervous, he's really looking forward to hearing what fans think about it. His heart is pounding because it's a new experiment!
Raindrops' note: I said that Nonaka was the director last time, rather than the producer. This was a mistake on my part due to overexcitement, he's definitely the producer. Sorry. It's not even written in Japanese.

I didn't spot anything new from Weekly Famitsu in this week's bumper year-end issue. That fits the pattern they have used in the past, though, where Weekly Famitsu breaks the news one week then Dengeki PlayStation (which is on a fortnightly schedule) adds a few more details while Weekly Famitsu concentrates on other titles.

As per KobaP's comments, the game's official website will update tonight and add the video from Jump Festa. I'll add the direct link to this post when I wake up. What a great Christmas gift!

Edit: The video went online at 10:00 Japan time!

You can watch it on the official YouTube channel.

News roundup: Mini midweek update

I'm anticipating making another news post tomorrow so I'll quickly summarise the latest happenings now to avoid things getting mixed up.

Some additional Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den information from Dengeki

It seems that there's a little more information about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den in this week's Dengeki PlayStation magazine. BlackKite has summarised the early leaks so far here. I'm not expecting any major new reveals but if those comments are representative there might be a few interesting tidbits to read when the magazine is released.

A few more preview pictures from January's new stage play

There's also been an update on the Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi stage play website. Katsuie (Fujita Ray), Motonari (Kotani Yoshikazu) and Tsuruhime (Kawamura Yukie) are now shown in costume. Even if there are no major changes from their previous outings as these characters it's still nice to see them dressed up.

A special Christmas offer for the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi music packs

Finally, there's currently a Christmas/New Year sale running on Japan's PSN which is offering some of the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi background music DLC at a discount until 4th January 2016. more specifically, if you purchase any one of the other six 'music collection' DLC packs from previous Sengoku Basara games, or the Character theme songs ~DISCO BASARA mix~ music pack, you'll receive the Classic Sengoku Basara X music collection pack for free.

For reference, this pack contains the following songs:

1. JOY RIDE (Suriagehara) CROSS.ver
2. Determination Of The Right Eye CROSS.ver
3. Ueda Battle CROSS.ver
4. Maeda Keiji's Theme CROSS.ver
5. Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Theme CROSS.ver
6. Takenaka Hanbee's Theme CROSS.ver
7. Chousokabe Motochika's Theme CROSS.ver
8. Battle Of Itsukushima CROSS.ver
9. Conquest By Military Force CROSS.ver
10. Awakening CROSS.ver