Basara Matsuri 2012 ~Natsu No Jin~, held the same weekend as Comiket on the 11th and 12th August 2012. The venue was the Makuhari Event Hall, part of the famous Makuhari Messe complex in Chiba, near Tokyo.
The last stage play run had been several months earlier and even Sengoku Basara 3 Utage's release was rapidly becoming a distant memory. It was the HD Collection, due for release a few weeks later at the end of August, which was the focus of the event. There was a strong Toyotomi bias to the guest list; Basara Matsuri 2012 presented a rare opportunity to see the seiyuu for Keiji, Mitsunari, Hideyoshi and Hanbee together side by side for the first time. The team weren't going to let this chance for some faction-related fan service pass them by.
There were three separate events over the course of the weekend. An evening show kicked things off on Saturday and then Sunday had two shows back-to-back in the afternoon and evening. I was fortunate enough to be part of the 6,000-strong audience for all three sittings. That's 6,000 people per show: even if a large number of people attended multiple times, it's still an impressive number of attendees for such a specialised gathering.
The DVD version of Basara Matsuri 2012 finally came out on 26th December 2012 as a two-disc set with a thin colour booklet full of photographs. Though it's a limited release costing ¥5,800 it's unlikely that it will become overly rare any time soon. As I was physically present for the original event, I'm going to do this DVD review a little differently and fit my comments about the DVD content into a long, long description of the entire weekend from the perspective of an audience member.
The list of guests for Basara Matsuri 2012 ~Natsu No Jin~ was colossal. Here's the full list of seiyuu who came on stage, starting with those who were present for all three performances:
Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji)
Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika)
Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari)
Okiayu Ryoutarou (Toyotomi Hideyoshi)
Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari)
Hayami Shou (Akechi Mitsuhide)
These two appeared on Saturday only:
Ishida Akira (Takenaka Hanbee)
Genda Tesshou (Takeda Shingen)
While these guests only appeared on Sunday:
Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura)
Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu)
The cast of Butai Sengoku Basara 2 was also in attendance. Other than Isaka - who was missing on Saturday - all of the stage play actors below appeared at all three shows:
Isaka Tatsuya (Maeda Keiji)
Odai Ryouhei (Toyotomi Hideyoshi)
Sakimoto Hiromi (Takenaka Hanbee)
Kubota Yuuki (Date Masamune)
Hosogai Kei (Sanada Yukimura)
Yoshida Tomokazu (Katakura Kojuurou)
Murata Youjirou (Sarutobi Sasuke)
Hirose Yuusuke (Tokugawa Ieyasu)
Nakamura Kazuto (Takeda Shingen)
AKIRA (Uesugi Kenshin)
Chinen Sayaka (Kasuga)
Masao (Maeda Toshiie)
Beppu Ayumi (Matsu)
Capcom's Sengoku Basara series producer KobaP (Kobayashi Hiroyuki) was in attendance to talk to the fans about the latest developments, and Nishikawa Takanori of abingdon boys school completed the list of official guests. There were also two secret guests who are mentioned in the detailed description below. The role of MC was handled by Morita Masakazu in between his seiyuu duties.
Before the event
Attending Basara Matsuri as a regular audience member, my day started early with a trek to Makuhari Event Hall. The first event on Saturday didn't start until 5:30pm, but limited edition Basara Matsuri goods went on sale at the venue in the morning and I knew that many items would sell out quickly.
As I have a habit of speculating, it was my hope that the presence of Masamune event goods meant that his seiyuu was going to show up as an unannounced guest. Of course, they were probably primarily for fans for the stage play version of Masamune. I bought a fan to wave and show my support just in case.
Everyone who spent more than ¥3,000 on event goods was given an exclusive yellow cloth bag. It was very easy to reach this meagre target.
After killing some time in the local area, I rejoined the now-enormous crowds outside the event hall and at 4:30pm we were allowed inside. There were roughly as many male visitors in sight as there were foreigners - members of either demographic could comfortably be counted on one hand. Females were everywhere and they ran the gamut from excited young girls to hardcore fans even older than I am. Many of the ladies dressed for the occasion with their best Sengoku Basara accessories while others came in beautiful yukata.
As attendees entered the event hall we were given bags full of leaflets and exclusive character cards for Browser Sengoku Basara and Sengoku Basara Card Heroes. Although my picture above also shows a pamphlet for Butai Sengoku Basara 3 ~Setouchi Kyouran~ these were actually given out after the performance on the first day rather than in advance, so as not to spoil the surprise when it was announced on stage.
The lobby of the venue was full of Sengoku Basara merchandise. There were also the usual floral arrangements on display which had been sent by various companies and individuals associated with the series. Many of the arrangements were appropriately decorated with historical family crests, flags and dolls, and it was impossible to get close as everyone crowded around trying to take pictures. My favourite was a cute Mini Sengoku Basara flower arrangement made in the shape of Motonari's face (and hat).
I did manage to take pictures of the less crowded attractions, like this Utage screen and the Mitsunari jersey below. The jerseys were a tie-in with the Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- manga series. They were far too expensive to even consider purchasing when they went on sale so it was a treat to at least be able to see them up close.
I mentioned above that the purpose of this event was primarily to celebrate the upcoming release of the HD Collection, and one of the gimmicks was that the game was going to feature a short 'image video' for Date Masamune as a reward for his victory in the BSR48 character election. Nobody had any idea what this 'image video' would involve beyond a couple of tiny screenshots that had recently been published in a gaming magazine. To tease the waiting fans, Capcom included a tiny sample at the end of one of the looping trailers - it was perhaps a second or two in length - and every single time it played the people in the arena seats below me screamed in excitement. The atmosphere was amazing.
I'd originally planned to attend Basara Matsuri on Sunday, only later changing my mind to include Saturday after my favourite seiyuu Ishida Akira was announced as a Saturday guest. Accordingly, I'd booked my Saturday ticket quite late and my seat for this first performance was dreadful. I was at the front of the second floor seating but right at the opposite end of the hall to the stage; the excellent acoustics and large screen above the guests couldn't hide the fact that everything felt very far away. One of the things I was most looking forward to with the DVD release was being able to revisit the Saturday performance from a much better vantage point.
Disc 1: Saturday performance
The looping trailers were finally brought to an end by a picture of Hideyoshi and Hanbee appearing on the screen accompanied by some guidelines on how to behave at the event. These stern instructions were read by the seiyuu and accompanied by some very entertaining banter in character, guaranteeing that every single person in the audience gave the rules their full attention. Nobody in their right mind would defy a command from the Toyotomi.
The warnings gave way to an opening movie, which counted down to the start by showcasing every single character from the series with the Sengoku Basara series theme blaring over the speakers. Just watching the video from my distant seat gave me goosebumps.
Then, the first Matsuri even began. A batch of 'Sengoku Drama Emaki' audio dramas were performed live on stage by the seiyuu guests, followed by a formal introduction. When KobaP asked whether anyone in the audience was attending the event for the first time, Ishida Akira raised his hand too. The introductions were cute as all of the seiyuu tend to bounce in and out of character, leading to some fan service in the form of ad-libbed responses to one another.
A series of three 'talk show' segments came next starting with one for the seiyuu. Fans had provided strange questions for the seiyuu to answer via Capcom's Sengoku Basara mobile phone newsletter in the weeks before Basara Matsuri, and the actors rose to the occasion with some outrageously funny answers on behalf of their own characters.
By popular demand, I have roughly translated a short sample. Each voice actor answered for his own character. I've used the character names below to make it easier to follow.
Question: "If the characters from the game appeared in the modern world, what do you think their occupation would be? By the way, I have an image of Oyakata-sama as a P.E. teacher dressed in a red jersey."
Shingen: A master carpenter. His apprentice would be Yukimura, shouting "Oyakata! Oyakata!" (this is a different word meaning 'Foreman!'; it's a pun).
MC: Wouldn't there be a concern that you'd destroy all of the huge buildings you made during the usual 'communication' with that apprentice..?
Mitsuhide: A game creator. Akechi would make dreadful games which bring out the worst in people.
KobaP: Since it's Akechi, I'd think it would involve using a scythe to hunt. It wouldn't be Monster Hunter...
Hideyoshi: A bodyguard.
MC: A bodyguard? And who would you protect?
Hideyoshi (immediately): Hanbee.
Hanbee: I'm so happy that I'm being defended in reverse!
Hideyoshi: I wouldn't protect anyone other than Hanbee. But I'd be protected by Mitsunari.
Mitsunari: I'd be a Shinkansen (bullet train). Just look at the shape of that hair - there wouldn't be much air resistance!
Mitsuhide: That's not a person...
Mitsunari: Then a marathon runner! The air resistance...
MC: So Hanbee, who is being protected...what kind of work is he doing under that protection?
Hanbee: Hmm...managing a S&M club in Gotanda?
Hideyoshi: What are you saying?
MC: It's still mid-afternoon!
Motochika: Fishing for skipjack tuna with a pole and line. But since I like machinery so much, perhaps running an obscure factory in the Oota area?
MC: Building ships?
Motochika: Rocket parts, and such...I'd want to make unnecessary things.
MC: And finally, how about you, Nakahara-san?
Motonari: A locust.
MC: Nakahara-san, I apologise, please calm down, I apologise but the question was about 'occupations'.
Motonari: A 'tonosama' locust ('tonosama' is a term of respect for a feudal lord - and also a species of locust).
Motonari: I'm a lord who makes knock-off goods (yet another pun, as 'batta' means 'locust' and 'battamon' means knock-off merchandise).
MC: Fake goods...so you're in the manufacturing line of work, just like your rival Chousokabe.
Motochika: Theft is rampant in this neighbourhood!
Everyone left the stage once the discussion finished, making way for KobaP and Morita to interview abingdon boys school's Nishikawa Takanori. They talked about his work with the Sengoku Basara series and in particular about the HD Collection theme song, WE aRE. I can't avoid mentioning that Nishikawa was dressed in attention-grabbing shorts which stood out even amongst the experimental fashion choices made by the other guests. His smooth white legs came up as the topic of conversation several times over the course of the weekend.
The last of the three 'talk show' segments introduced the Butai Sengoku Basara 2 cast. Much to everyone's delight they chose to approach the stage by walking through the ranks of the audience. This was quite bewildering to watch at the time from up on the second floor because they kept popping up from unexpected places! It's adorable to watch it again up close and to be able to see the way the crowd in the arena seating was buzzing with excitement every time an actor or actress appeared. Beppu Ayumi's cuteness level is off the chart.
Nakamura Seijirou (Ishida Mitsunari) hadn't been able to attend Basara Matsuri 2012 so we were shown a short video message from him as part of the talk show. He provided the most interesting question for the other actors to answer too, about which other character they'd have liked to have played. Some of the answers were fascinating to hear. Hosogai Kei also treated the audience to a snippet of his flawless English in what became a very rowdy talk show. It ended with a chaotic rendition of the 'Katakura Kojuurou Game' from the stage play.
Now that all of the guests had been introduced and had some time to address the crowd, KobaP took to the stage again to present the latest Sengoku Basara developments in detail. It was obvious that there wasn't going to be an announcement of a new game since that would damage interest in the upcoming HD Collection at a critical time for preorders, but this didn't mean that it wasn't exciting to see what Capcom had in store for fans in other areas.
KobaP kicked off his presentation with the premiere of the full opening video for Sengoku Basara HD Collection. Nobody let the fact that it was made up of recut footage from the earlier games dampen their spirits. He talked the audience through a series of slides giving the launch details for the game and details of a Sengoku Basara HD Collection Warlord Relationship Chart Maker Facebook tool that was to be part of the promotional campaign.
Information about the soundtrack CD and theme song CD single followed along with Browser Sengoku Basara news, including the dates for an in-game event where Itsuki would raid your territory. There would be a summer Browser Sengoku Basara tie-in campaign which rewarded unique clear files if you visited the Kaikatsu Club chain of internet cafes. The Sengoku Basara Card Heroes mobile game was to debut brand new card illustrations and run an in-game event; there was also to be a crossover between Card Heroes and Konami's Sengoku Collection mobile game.
Zoff x Sengoku Basara 'Datemegane' glasses. Preorders would commence two days later. I wrote a little more about the origin of the Datemegane tie-in in my previous article about Basara Matsuri 2011.
KobaP asked how many attendees belonged to the official Sengoku Basara fan club 'Eiyuu No Kai' and almost everyone seated in the arena raised their hand, which was a cunning way of making the people in distant seats see one of the most obvious advantages of membership! The fan club is still quite young and it only accepts members periodically. KobaP announced that they were going to reopen admissions for a short time so a second wave of fans could finally join up.
Next, KobaP wowed the crowd by showing off Date Masamune's BSR48 image video from the HD Collection for the very first time. The crowd roared with excitement repeatedly and in the back of my mind I wondered how it must feel to go on stage in front of 6,000 strangers to present the results of your hard work in person. It must feel good to see everyone reacting ecstatically and waving their arms; much better than presenting it to embittered professionals at a simple press conference.
This led into the biggest announcement for Basara Matsuri 2012: there was to be a brand new stage play, Butai Sengoku Basara 3 ~Setouchi Kyouran~. The plot would focus on Motonari and Motochika's conflict in the Setouchi region instead of being tied directly into the main storyline of the games as usual. KobaP went on to announce who had been cast to appear. The majority of the actors were to keep their roles while Chousokabe Motochika and Saika Magoichi had been recast and Tachibana Muneshige and Ootomo Sourin would be brand new additions to the world of Butai Sengoku Basara. KobaP invited the new Motochika, actor Hamao Kyousuke, on stage to meet the audience as a surprise guest. He came across as a genuinely sweet guy as he nervously shared his thoughts on joining the popular cast.
This marked the end of KobaP's presentation so Morita came back on stage to introduce the next segment: Castle Construction!! 'One Night Castle' with Jenga. The castle in the name is a reference to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's legendary feat where he supposedly built Sunomata Castle in a single night.
The seiyuu and stage play guests were divided into three teams led by the seiyuu for Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Takeda Shingen and Chousokabe Motochika. Each group was given a gigantic Jenga puzzle made up of mixture of blue, red and yellow blocks. The team leaders squared off with three-way games of rock-paper-scissors to decide how many Jenga pieces their teammates would have to remove from the stacks each round. To make it harder than usual, the rules demanded that all of the blocks removed in a given round had to be a particular colour.
Chousokabe's team had a disadvantage right from the start as the Jenga stacks were quite high, and for some reason his team had a high concentration of the shortest guests which made placing the blocks on top of the stack almost as nerve-wracking as removing them in the first place. With the aid of some bad luck in rock-paper-scissors, it wasn't long before the game was over.
As the 'Aniki Team' lost the game, team leader Ishino Ryuuzou had to pick someone to join him in a forfeit. Nakahara Shigeru was the natural choice. A prerecorded video was played for everyone in which the two absent seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Morikawa Toshiyuki (Katakura Kojuurou) declared that the losers had to perform an unrehearsed skit on stage; their two victims thus took on the roles of Kasuga (Ishino) and Uesugi Kenshin (Nakahara) for a light interlude of romantic twirling.
Things took on a more serious note with the commencement of the second batch of Sengoku Drama Emaki audio performances. The best of these was a scene from Butai Sengoku Basara 2. Hanbee and Mitsunari's dialogue had the latter behaving like a loyal puppy; the two seiyuu were fighting laughter as Seki used body language along with his lines to show how much Mitsunari worshipped his hero. I love how the extended Sengoku Basara universe makes it possible to experience moments which were never part of the original games...
There was also a drama involving Shingen and Hideyoshi which had been written especially for Basara Matsuri 2012, and another where Motochika and Motonari performed a short excerpt from the Soul Revolution drama CD. This CD was a preorder bonus for fans who ordered the HD Collection directly from Capcom. The live preview served to whet the appetites of those who had been looking forward to it.
Right before all of the guests came back to bid the audience farewell, musicians abingdon boys school came on stage to give a short Sengoku Basara live concert. This climax was not included on the DVD. The band were full of passion and the crowd leapt to their feet to join in with WE aRE, Blade Chord and JAP; the tension was every bit as high as it would be during a full concert in spite of the short set list.
The guests then closed the first day of Basara Matsuri 2012 with some final messages. The excitement hung in the air as 6,000 people spilled out of the venue and headed towards the train station. Many of us would be making the trip back again tomorrow to soak up the atmosphere of this celebration of fandom all over again.
The content which made it to the DVD is as follows:
Sengoku Drama Emaki (first part)
Sengoku Basara special talk show
Nishikawa Takanori special talk show
Butai Sengoku Basara 2 special talk show
Latest Sengoku Basara news
Castle Construction!! 'One Night Castle' with Jenga
Sengoku Drama Emaki (final part)
While my memory isn't perfect so many months after the event, it seems as though very little was left out of the DVD recording. The mini-concert was the only obvious omission. Still, to make up for this, the DVD includes a 'Making Of Basara Matsuri 2012 ~Natsu No Jin' feature. It included videos of the original pre-show behaviour guidelines I mentioned at the start, and made them even better with footage of the seiyuu performing them live backstage (excluding the one from Sunday afternoon, which had been prepared in advance). At the time of the event it was impossible to be sure whether the clips were being performed live. The rest of the 'Making Of' video was devoted to backstage clips of the seiyuu and stage play cast fooling around and being nervous with occasional comments from MC Morita Masakazu about how things were going. The backstage footage was all new to me and very fun to watch.
Disc 2: Sunday performances
Sunday was a much more relaxed affair; I'd already bought the merchandise I needed so it was simply a matter of queueing up again twice over and enjoying the remainder of Basara Matsuri. The shows were scheduled for 12:30pm (afternoon performance) and 5:30pm (evening). I'd applied for tickets for both Sunday dates as soon as they went on sale and, if you'll forgive me a moment of bragging, my seats were absolutely brilliant. For the afternoon my seat was at the front of the second floor again, this time right next to the stage, and in the evening I got to sit in the very first row directly in front of the action. It was intimidating knowing that this would be the closest I would ever get to the seiyuu I'd been following for many years now.
The way that the two Sunday events are presented on the DVD is that the bulk of the second disc covers the Sunday evening show. The earlier show from the same day was quite similar, so rather than adding a third disc to the set the staff chose the segments which were substantially different to the later show and included them as extra footage. I've decided to keep my coverage of the Sunday performances in chronological order in spite of this.
After another hour of trailers came the audio message with the rules. This time it was Masamune and Kojuurou who taught the audience proper Matsuri etiquette. My friends had laughed at me when I told them that I'd be going to the same event three times in a row, however little touches like this meant that every single performance was different. The care that Japanese companies put into the art of entertainment never fails to be impressive.
Some parts of the show were almost identical to Saturday's versions, such as KobaP's presentation (he wasn't so cruel as to make everyone attend all three shows to hear the full set of announcements). Most of the other content was new though, and as soon as the high energy countdown video finished the stage play cast appeared in costume and launched straight into a live performance of key fight scenes from Butai Sengoku Basara 2. It was phenomenally exciting to watch, all the more so for me as I hadn't seen any of these scenes before at the time. It was only when I rewatched it (twice in a row) on the DVD that I realised that the actors must have been lip-syncing their lines as they didn't seem to have their microphones on! This was completely unnoticeable in person; the acrobatic fighting moves and special effects had me under their spell.
More live audio dramas followed, with the roles and choice of scenes adjusted because Shingen and Hanbee had been replaced by Yukimura and Ieyasu in the guest list. While this meant that we weren't able to enjoy Hanbee and Hideyoshi together on the Sunday, that drama was replaced by a new one with Hideyoshi addressing Ieyasu and Mitsunari. I enjoyed seeing how the characters acted together back when they were all working side by side.
Morita introduced the cast individually once the dramas were over and then there was a typically crazy discussion with the seiyuu answering questions about their characters. My favourite was the topical question about which Olympics event each character would be best suited to; the suggestions were so silly! Next, KobaP interviewed Nishikawa Takanori once again. The event happened to fall on the same day as KobaP's birthday, so Nishikawa led the whole audience in singing 'Happy Birthday' to him as a surprise.
After the interview it was time for another team game. Instead of more Jenga, Sunday's game was a 'flag quiz'. The seiyuu and stage play actors were divided into three teams, again captained by Hideyoshi, Keiji and Motochika, and they had to answer trivia questions based on the series. However, they could only answer the question and score points after a runner from their team had successfully retrieved one of their team's traditional flags from deep within the audience. This was quite funny as the stage play actors were obviously far younger and fitter than their seiyuu counterparts. The highlight was when Ishino nominated his rival Nakahara to be the runner for one round when the other two captains picked stage play actors. Nakahara had no chance - instead he cheerfully shuffled up to the second floor and waved at the crowd as he collected a flag at his own pace. Because he was acting so ridiculously the stage play guests followed his lead and the competition was soon full of more giggling than competitive spirit.
The final question of the game was presented with another prerecorded video from Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Morikawa Toshiyuki (Katakura Kojuurou). They treated us to a funny skit before presenting the tie-breaker. To make extra-sure that their question was the most important, Masamune demanded that it would be worth a huge amount of points - and thus the game was decided. The losers had to nominate two seiyuu to perform a scene. Enjoying the chance to slip into character, Hideyoshi ordered Mitsunari to assist him in taking on the roles of Toshiie and Matsu for some coy flirting, much to the delight of everyone watching.
The first performance of Sunday ended just as Saturday's had with a final round of drama performances, then a.b.s. performed the same three Sengoku Basara songs on stage followed by farewells from the guests. Thanks to my better seat I'd enjoyed myself even more than the day before.
The only parts of the Saturday afternoon performance which made it to the DVD recording were these:
Sengoku Basara Drama Emaki (selected scenes)
Sengoku Basara special talk show
Nishikawa Takanori special talk show
Run for it! Sengoku Basara Flag Quiz
Most of the fans had decided to make a full day of their Basara addiction and hung around outside after leaving the event hall. Soon it was time for the doors to reopen again to admit the evening attendees. The final performance was the best of the three.
Rather than going through every single thing again, here's the schedule as it ran on the DVD:
Butai Sengoku Basara 2 special stage
Sengoku Drama Emaki (first part)
Sengoku Basara special talk show
Nishikawa Takanori special talk show
Run for it! Sengoku Basara Flag Quiz
Sengoku Drama Emaki (final part)
The rules at the start were read out by Motochika and Motonari this time, taking longer than usual due to the pair's constant squabbling. Motochika always brightens up live events with what's called an 'Aniki call' - he yells "Yarou-domo!" at the audience and they respond with an affectionate "ANIKI!" just as his crew calls out to him in the games. As a recurring joke, Motonari's seiyuu had come up with the idea that he should be able to contemptuously say "Sutegoma!" ('sacrificial pawns') to the crowd to trigger the battle cry "BANZAI!". This is, of course, very silly, but much to the bemusement of the other guests it worked well. Soon everyone was trained to respond with appropriate loyalty, and by this final performance it was so ingrained that the list of rules soon descended into a cacophony of crowd calls.
Just as before, the opening movie, Butai Sengoku Basara 2 display and drama readings followed. Since this was to be the final performance of Basara Matsuri 2012 nobody held back. There was more passion, and consequently there were a few more mistakes which led to ad-libs and teasing from other guests. One thing I noticed was that for all of the previous Sengoku Drama Emaki sections, the dialogues had been arranged so that each seiyuu had a starring role once at the start of the performance and once in the later batch. This time, even though the guest list was identical to the afternoon show, Motonari's second drama was included in the first set of Sengoku Drama Emaki readings, which meant he wouldn't have a role in the finale. It seemed odd, and as it happened, the reason for it would be revealed later on.
The show continued with the same schedule as before. Of course, the topics discussed in the talk shows were different. The flag race played out completely differently as well, since it was an unscripted competition; once again, Nakai and Morikawa presented the deciding question with some fooling around on a special video (this time, their question was worth eight trillion points...). All too soon, it was time for the last set of Sengoku Drama Emaki performances.
I was a little disappointed that there hadn't been any secret seiyuu guests this time around. The only secret guest had been Hamao as part of the Butai Sengoku Basara 3 ~Setouchi Kyouran~ announcement, so the sad idea was forming in the back of my mind that the Sengoku Basara team had decided to focus on the stage play more than the original source material after all.
The screen flashed up the details for the drama I was about to see performed one last time: Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura versus Akechi Mitsuhide. From my seat right in front of the stage, it was possible to make out two shadowy figures on stage as usual, but something seemed different and there was a feeling of electric excitement rippling across the crowd around me. The music faded out and the spotlight came on, revealing a new face on stage: Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune)!
It is impossible to come close to adequately describing the sense of raw elation which gripped the audience once everybody had recognised the surprise guest. Even though Basara Matsuri was swiftly coming to an end, everyone was screaming Nakai's name so loudly that it was difficult to hear his lines over the powerful speakers, let alone pay attention to his co-stars Hoshi and Hayami (who had been up on the second floor). Thankfully, watching it again on DVD allowed me to appreciate everything properly. The drama performances continued, with Nakai returning for a second dialogue with Motochika later on. This one was from Motochika's story in the second game and involved some audience participation and a hilarious moment where Nakai couldn't stop smiling, completely botching his signature appreciative whistle. Ishino and Nakai are a really good match on stage.
Sadly, the show had to end eventually and a.b.s. played their final set. Some songs were slightly extended and even though I must have heard WE aRE several dozen times over the course of Matsuri by this point, I loved every minute of it. Nishikawa is an energetic singer who draws the audience in with a lot of eye contact and gestures without ever missing a single note. The guests all said their last round of farewells and with that, Basara Matsuri 2012 ~Natsu No Jin~ was over.
Having now watched the DVD all the way through I feel safe in saying that the Basara Matsuri 2012 ~Natsu No Jin~ experience was well worth every penny spent - both on attending the event in person and on the DVD release. It surpassed all of my expectations. Attendees were instructed that photography was forbidden outside of the lobby so my pictures above are rather limited in scope. Fortunately, Famitsu and AnimeAnime (part two) were subject to no such restrictions and they published detailed reports in Japanese complete with photographs from the event.
The next Basara Matsuri will be Basara Matsuri 2013 ~Haru No Jin~ taking place over the last weekend of March. I have my fingers crossed for a Sengoku Basara 4 announcement soon to make it extra special...