Wednesday 21 November 2012
Manga review: Mini Sengoku Basara Two (Japanese)
Fans of the anime will already know the storyline, covering Toyotomi Hideyoshi's rise to power following the defeat of Oda Nobunaga. These two books cover all of the major events from the second series but with a twist; rather than accurately relying on the anime's script, they instead show silly 'What If?' scenarios. What if Motochika and Motonari had visited Azuchi castle before Yukimura popped in halfway through the series? How did Keiji try to stop Toshiie from going on the attack before things escalated to the fight shown in the series? What exactly was Kojuurou doing all of the time he was in Osaka Castle?
There are a total of thirty-six chapters spread between these two volumes, however, each story is only a few pages long. As a result of this, even though the script is different, familiarity with the original scenes helps to get the most out of the handful of panels allocated to each joke.
Since the Sengoku Basara series has so many characters, all of whom have loyal fans and larger-than-life personalities, spin-off works will always face a delicate balancing act to avoid becoming nothing more than a succession of cameo appearances. I feel that Mini Sengoku Basara Two did a pretty good job in that respect; a few characters were cut from the anime but the majority made the cut - even Oyamada and the anime-original Date soldiers. I finished the final chapter wishing only that the manga had lasted longer.
Although Mini Sengoku Basara Two is not available in English at the moment, the Japanese is not complex and learners will find it easy to follow, with furigana accompanying all kanji compounds and the archaic speech patterns simplified even further than usual. Both volume one and volume two are available from all good Japanese booksellers. Like the anime series it was based upon, Mini Sengoku Basara has now finished, replaced by the even-cuter Mame Sengoku Basara. Mame Sengoku Basara is based on the game designs and adds the Sengoku Basara 3 characters to the roster, so I'll definitely be covering that once I'm all caught up.