Friday 9 November 2012

Part 4: Yanagita Rikao's Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory

As with my posts covering the earlier parts, this is an extremely rough English translation of the blog series Yanagita Rikao's Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory (Yanagita Rikao Sengoku Basara Kagaku Kenkyuujo). It's not a word-for-word official translation. The series is intended to promote August's Sengoku Basara HD Collection. Please click the links below to see the original articles, which are accompanied by illustrations and promotional videos.

Note: I felt the need to expand on the explanation of Setsuna slightly in my own words, as Yanagita-sensei's were rather vague from a western perspective.

Part 4: Moving instantaneously, faster than a hurricane!? Ishida Mitsunari

Quickest in the Warring States

Mitsunari's speed is symbolised by 'Setsuna'. On-screen, it appears as though you teleport directly in front of a distant enemy.

To be true teleportation, however, you'd have to be moving at an infinite speed. In our universe, nothing can move faster than the speed of light: 300,000km/s. With this fact in mind, it must take even Mitsunari a little time to use Setsuna. I wonder how much?

Setsuna (ksana in Sanskrit) is actually an ancient word. The concept came from India, and in Buddhist teaching it's said to be the smallest unit for measuring time. Consulting an encyclopedia, I found that a day is equivalent to 6,480,000 Setsuna. Therefore, 1 Setsuna is equivalent to 1/75 of a second. Within this space of time, Mitsunari can move in front of an enemy that was 5m away, giving a speed of 1,350km/h. That's Mach 1.1!

A Mach number represents a multiple of the speed of sound; if its value is greater than 1 then it means the speed of sound has been exceeded. Why, Mitsunari would be able to overtake his own spoken voice. If Mitsunari was to use Setsuna upon shouting "Hideyoshi-sama~!", he'd hear his own voice after he'd arrived at his destination. For a human being that's an unprecedented speed.

His sword moves fast too

The speed at which Mitsunari swings his sword is extraordinary. It's so quick that the human eye can't keep up; the retina only glimpses a residual image of the path it traced as purple light. Exactly how fast can it be?

The time that an afterimage is stored in a human retina is 0.1 seconds, and at times Mitsunari's sword can leave as many as 10 residual images. This means that he is swinging the sword at least 10 times in the space of 0.1 seconds. The length of a single afterimage is around 2m. A simple calculation tells us that the speed must be 720km/h, but that's not the full extent of Mitsunari's capabilities. We mustn't overlook the fact that Mitsunari also moves the sword back and forth, from side to side. That calculation gave us the average speed, but the maximum speed reached during reciprocal motion is double that. In other words, Mitsunari's sword speed is 1,440km/h, or Mach 1.2!

Lacking any data on the sword speed of an ordinary swordsman, Ou Sadaharu in his prime swung his baseball bat at 154km/h. A bat is a little lighter than a katana because its centre of gravity is near to its tip, so perhaps it's fair to compare this to the sword speed of a real swordsman. That being so, Mitsunari's sword speed is 9.4x that of a normal swordsman. This represents 87x more muscle power; if he was to hit a baseball, it would fly 87x farther. If Mitsunari appeared in the modern world and played baseball, his home run would fly a distance of 9km.

A sword which becomes a star

The speed of Mitsunari's sword might not be limited to this, however. The possibility is suggested by 'Zanmetsu'. After thrusting the katana into the ground, he swings it up and a purple light darts towards distant enemies, flinging them into the air. The guidebook states that a shockwave is released.

This phenomenon has serious ramifications. In swinging the sword, a shockwave sufficient to launch people into the air is released; due to the excessive speed, I'd imagine it would be generating an enormous amount of heat the moment it makes contact with the air. If the shock wave is launching enemies 5m into the air at a distance of 10m, Mitsunari must be swinging his sword at a speed of 900,000km/h, or Mach 740!

If Mitsunari lets go of his katana halfway through the move, it will not only break free from the gravity of the planet Earth but also that of the sun, flying to the distant reaches of space. Mitsunari's sword will become a star. His sorrow will be even greater than it was before.

All content in this post is © CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012.

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