Wednesday, 16 January 2013

News: The complete Sengoku Basara 2 manga is now available in English

It's so rare that we get English-language news about the Sengoku Basara series that it deserves its own post.

Last night, Udon Entertainment announced on Twitter that the long-awaited second volume of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends has finally been printed and sent to distributors. It's been delayed a few times, so they included a couple of tantalising photographs as proof of its existence. I can't wait to add the book to my collection!

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends is the English translation of the four-volume Sengoku Basara 2 manga. It was drawn by Haibara Yak and originally published between 2007 and 2009 in Japan. For the English-language edition, Udon split the manga across two hefty volumes rather than sticking to the same release format as the Japanese books.

There's a preview of the first volume on their website which gives a good idea of what to expect from Haibara's dynamic art style. As it's the official Sengoku Basara 2 manga, the plot naturally centres around the rise of the Toyotomi forces and the actions taken by the other armies in response. Unlike the Sengoku Basara 2 anime, the manga incorporates more characters from the game for a more balanced feel. As much as I adore Masamune, it's good to see characters like Nagamasa, Oichi, Kenshin and Keiji get some time in the spotlight.

Udon also mentioned that the first printing of volume one sold out and had to be reprinted. The new copies should be available at the end of the month. That's very comforting to hear, as brisk sales could mean that they will consider publishing more Sengoku Basara material in the future. There's plenty of manga out there for the series already just waiting to be picked up and brought to the west. A lot of fans don't seem to realise that the manga is out, so here are some links!

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends volume 1 (Amazon UK) (Amazon USA)
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends volume 2 (Amazon UK) (Amazon USA)

Udon also published the Sengoku Basara 3 Official Complete Works in English last year as Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes Official Complete Works. This art book is filled with design illustrations from the third game. They've posted an official preview with some samples as well as photographs of how the book looks; it's obvious that a lot of care has gone into bringing this to the west. All fans of the series owe it to themselves to take a look:

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes Official Complete Works (Amazon UK) (Amazon USA)

I think this is also a good opportunity to list the other Sengoku Basara products which are available in the west. Every single purchase of these products matters - let's show the publishers and Capcom that there's a real demand for Sengoku Basara overseas!

First of all, the complete anime has now been released by FUNimation. There's a UK release too from Manga Entertainment, but I can't recommend that: the US version offers a slick Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and limited edition box while the UK only had a Blu-ray for the first season. As well as the drop in quality, this means that the UK release is also completely missing four of the seven special Mini Sengoku Basara episodes which were only available on the Blu-ray version of the second season in the US. The US release is so low priced at around $20 per set that it blows the DVD-only UK version out of the water:

Sengoku Basara Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
Sengoku Basara 2 limited edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- Blu-ray/DVD combo pack

It looks as though the second season is currently out of stock, so a standard edition might be on the way soon. UK buyers shouldn't have to pay any customs fees purchasing the sets from the US since the price is below the customs limit (currently £15).

On the game side, the dreadful westernised version of the first Sengoku Basara, 'Devil Kings', is long out of print, and with the HD Collection out in Japan now it's difficult to recommend hunting down a copy of the gutted American adaptation. However, it's still possible to find the English-language version of Sengoku Basara 3 (titled 'Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes) quite cheaply. Weak acting and lack of the Japanese voices aside, it's a good game and worth picking up. If nothing else, counting the number of different ways the dubbed Masamune catastrophically mispronounces 'Kojuurou' in his dialogue is a game in itself!

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes for PS3 (Amazon UK) (Amazon USA)
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes for Nintendo Wii (Amazon UK) (Amazon USA)

All in all, the list of official English releases for the Sengoku Basara is pitifully short at the moment. With the anime finished and the games having stalled in the west, I hope that the fans will support the translated manga and make Capcom sit up and take notice of us again in future.

2 comments:

  1. I didn't know that the manga was out!
    Since that artbook was translated, I started thinking that maybe they care about western fans after all.
    So perhaps there is hope for a future western game release? Like SB4 - if it's made, which is highly likely.

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    Replies
    1. For some reason nobody seems to know Udon have been publishing more books! Hopefully we can spread the word a little bit at a time to make up for the lack of media coverage they seem to receive. I was excited when I suggested they pick up more SB books and received the response "We've been talking to Capcom, but nothing to announce yet.".

      I think it would be good if Capcom lowered their expectations for a hypothetical SB4, and started off with a simple release aimed at the hardcore fanbase by adding subtitles and popping it up on PSN in the west (they did this with the PSP games in Japan so it's not as though they're keeping the series strictly offline-only as far as distribution goes).

      Now we have the Sengoku Basara 2 manga translated to go with the anime, it would be a shame if the Toyotomi faction never gets a chance to appear in the games for English-speaking fans :(

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