Tuesday 6 November 2012

Part 1: Yanagita Rikao's Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory

To keep up the momentum as we wait for more information to trickle out of Capcom later in the month, I'm taking a step back today to cover a series of amusing Famitsu blog articles which began at the end of September. Every week, Yanagita Rikao introduces some lighthearted physics by taking a look at the Sengoku Basara characters and their infeasible special moves.

Yanagita is no newcomer to the world of implausible science, being the brains behind the Kuusou Kagaku Dokuhon series of books which already featured Sengoku Basara at the start of the year, investigating the "mystery of Oushuu Hittou Date Masamune's six-claw style". I don't have the book myself but there was considerable mirth upon its release.

The article must have been successful because it was soon followed up with the current blog series, memorably titled Yanagita Rikao's Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory (Yanagita Rikao Sengoku Basara Kagaku Kenkyuujo). The series is intended to promote August's Sengoku Basara HD Collection.

So far, there have been six blog posts, each highlighting an individual SenBasa character. I'm going to summarise them rather than translate each of them word for word; please read my English adaptations with this in mind. It's best to click the links too to see the adorable diagrams by Morinaga Pizza which accompany Yanagita's words, and if you can read Japanese, the original text is much more detailed and entertaining than my abridged version. You can find future summaries with this tag.

Part 1: The mysterious orange glow! Sanada Yukimura

The speed of the spears is supersonic

Yukimura's spearmanship often involves swinging his weapons horizontally rather than jabbing. When Yukimura attacks with two spears, they emit a bright orange light along their trajectory. What on earth is this flame?

Spears made from steel shouldn't be on fire. Where there's a lot of oxygen, they might fizzle like sparklers, but it would be disadvantageous in a fight to have the weapon gradually getting thinner and shorter as it burns.

What if that orange glow is actually the steel of the spear itself? If you think about it scientifically, the tips of the spears will be generating a lot of heat as they collide with the air, making them red hot. Science teaches us that iron glows bright orange at 1200℃. Therefore, for the spear tips to reach this temperature in the air, they must be moving at Mach 4.5. That's 1.5 times faster than a bullet being fired from a rifle!

In addition, Yukimura showers his enemies with continuous attacks, giving them no space to breathe. The rate at which his blows rain down is decided by the length of the spears. Taking into account the illustrations in the Sengoku Basara 5th Anniversary Eiyuu Taizen book, the spears are slightly longer than Yukimura is tall.  From this, it's probably best to assume around 6 shaku in Sengoku period measurements, or 182cm; if the spears are this long, when Yukimura swings his weapons back and forth at Mach 4.5 he will be doing so 67 times every second. With two spears, he'll strike the enemy 134 times.

Even a machine gun only fires 10 rounds per second, so Yukimura is hitting an enemy 1.5 times faster than a rifle bullet, at 7 times the rate of a machine gun. This feat requires not just speed, but also great physical strength, as equivalent force is needed in order to move an object quickly. From measuring the length of the spear tips from the previous picture, and the diameter of the handles, it looks as though the weight of the spears is 1.8kg. Yukimura's grip is 60m from the base of the spears when he swings them back and forth as described above. Taking these details into account, to move his spear tips at Mach 4.5 Yukimura will be exerting a force equivalent to 19t!

That's enough power to lift 40 Sengoku era horses. Usually when speaking about Sanada Yukimura the focus tends to be on speed, yet it's startling how much brute strength he has too.

Take care when using too much power

This guy demonstrates extraordinary speed and power in battle. For example, 'Rekka' is a continuous thrusting technique. I can't help but be surprised by the way I can use it to knock down enemy commanders, tearing soldiers apart and sending them flying.

A person back in the Sengoku era is said to be smaller than a person today, so dressed in armour weight up to 25kg and wielding a weapon, one might weigh around 100kg. With that in mind, when thrust at with a force of 19t even an enemy who blocked the blow with their sword would go flying at 120km/h. Thrusting horizontally, the distance travelled could reach 14m. A person on the receiving end of Yukimura's spears would be sent flying far enough to clear a dual carriageway!

Futhermore, if Yukimura uses his special move Daisharin, which involves connecting both of his spears and wielding them as one, there would be an eightfold increase in the force needed to wield the weapon. After taking into account the change in stance to give sufficient leverage, and a 2 shaku (60cm) gap between his hands, the resulting increase in his weapon's weight and length means that the tip of his spear ought to reach Mach 5. Its impact will be 250 times more powerful than a full swing from a professional baseball player.

However, Yukimura must tread carefully. If his spears are moving at a speed of Mach 5, they will reach a temperature of 1539℃; three degrees higher than the melting point of iron. There's significant danger that drops of molten iron will begin to fly as the spear tips are swung. Dealing the enemy an enormous amount of damage, I'm afraid it would be known as 'Melting Daisharin'; take care to hold the spears by their handles!

With such power and speed, Sanada Yukimura could even accidentally destroy his own weapons. There are no words strong enough to praise the young warrior of Kai.

All images and content in this post are © CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012.

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