Sunday, 10 February 2013

DVD review: Basara Matsuri 2010 ~Haru No Jin~

Basara Matsuri 2010 ~Haru No Jin~ was held on Sunday 2nd May 2010 at the Shinjuku Bunka Center Great Hall. There was both an afternoon and an evening performance, each of which was attended by approximately 2,000 eager fans.

The event was recorded and released on DVD on 22nd October the same year priced at ¥5,040. It's still available for purchase and contains 131 minutes of footage with 62 minutes of extras. A colour booklet with event photographs, seiyuu profiles and a message from KobaP is included in the package.

Back in May 2010, the relaunched stage play had just finished its run and an internet radio show was being broadcast weekly to promote the upcoming game. The second season of the anime had been announced for summer too, riding on the enormous success of the first series.

The main feature of Basara Matsuri 2010 ~Haru No Jin~ was of course the long-awaited Sengoku Basara 3, which was finally coming close to its release date of 29th July 2010. It had been close to a year since the game had been announced. The characters who were about to debut in the upcoming game took pride of place on stage while many series regulars were absent, so the list of guests contained a lot of new faces:

Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu)
Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari)
Tachiki Fumihiko (Ootani Yoshitsugu)
Oohara Sayaka (Saika Magoichi)
Koyama Rikiya (Kuroda Kanbee)
Koshimizu Ami (Tsuruhime)
Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji)
Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika)
Morikawa Toshiyuki (Katakura Kojuurou)

Sengoku Basara series producer Kobayashi Hiroyuki (KobaP) was, as always, in attendance alongside the seiyuu. After an introductory voiceover by Ieyasu and Mitsunari setting out the rules for attendees, the event began.

The opening act this time was an group of exceptionally athletic stage actors who performed a sword dance routine to a selection of tracks from the new game, with a vague Ieyasu versus Mitsunari theme. I thought it was better than the previous opening acts of this type, even with the incredibly corny fire effects that were added for the DVD recording. It was just like the more recent stage plays; the Sengoku Basara music seems to help make anything twice as exciting as normal as soon as it starts playing.

After what felt like seconds, the show was over and it was time for the seiyuu to come on stage. I loved seeing how much more cheering Morikawa received than anyone else when he appeared...

Next came the first Sengoku Drama Emaki session - live drama performances from the seiyuu. The number of scenes performed was generous this time and it was particularly exciting to see how the newer seiyuu approached the Sengoku Basara 3 characters. My favourite newcomers were Oohara - she was deeply serious in a gorgeous teal and purple yukata - and Koyama, whose face contorted amusingly as he rattled off Kanbee's ridiculous lines in encounters with Yoshitsugu and Tsuruhime.

Morita Masakazu appeared out of character once the final scene was over in order to get the crowd fired up and formally introduce all of the guests, taking on the role of MC. Koyama pranced on stage waving his frilly scarf around while Ishino blew kisses to the adoring crowd. All of the veterans received a great deal of applause.

Before the event footage turned into an uncontrollable seiyuu party, KobaP was bought in front of the crowd to present the latest Sengoku Basara announcements. He was wearing a smart suit this time around instead of his usual casual attire. The presentation began with the full opening movie to the upcoming game, then after some discussion of the new song, Naked Arms, the ending theme was previewed as well. Morita and KobaP went on to chat about the setting of Sengoku Basara 3 for the benefit of the eager fans, showing another preview video in the process. Unfortunately, all three of the videos were removed from the footage for the DVD, making this segment quite irritating to follow. It also seemed to end very quickly and the latest tie-ins and merchandise announcements were removed completely. According to reports there should have been details about the Fuji-Q High Land x Sengoku Basara exhibition, the new Ieyasu and Mitsunari Revoltech figures, the limited edition Tenka Wakemen ramen, the second official Sengoku Basara JTB historical tour (this time themed around Sanada Yukimura) and various Sengoku Basara 5th Anniversary tie-ins. I can see why the KobaP presentations are usually not present at all for the home video releases if they have to be stripped down this much...

Anyway, after the extremely abridged set of announcements were over, all of the seiyuu came back on stage for the traditional 'talk show' discussion. When Morita asked newcomer Seki how he felt joining the cast for the first time, he said it was great; after all, it's a popular series. "Popular?" responded Morita, "It's super popular!". Seki went on to compare the stiff historical portrayals of Mitsunari with his character, even commenting on the difference between the usual samurai topknot and his strange Sengoku Basara hairstyle.

I also liked Tachiki's comments very much. His speaking voice is very close to Yoshitsugu's only significantly faster and with a more casual tone, so all of his remarks sounded especially amusing as though Gyoubu himself was giving them. Oohara mentioned her surprise that Magoichi was a woman this time around, and jokingly asked KobaP if she'd been cast because of her name! She also brushed off Morita beautifully when he addressed her, treating him not unlike Magoichi would treat Keiji in the game.

The next segment was called 'Web Radio: Tour Edition'. Oohara & Koshimizu No Sengoku Basara 3 Ouen Radio. was an internet radio show which broadcast weekly between April and September 2010. Rather than featuring the popular male seiyuu as usual, this particular show was helmed by Oohara Sayaka and Koshimizu Ami - Magoichi and Tsuruhime from Sengoku Basara 3. I'm not sure it had the desired effect of getting more male fans interested in the series in the long term, but the two girls are a cute pair and it was nice to have a change from Morita and Morikawa.

This is unrelated to Basara Matsuri, but a pair of ¥2,500 double-disc CD sets were released later that same year with recordings of all twelve radio episodes as well as two bonus sessions.

    

The girls sat down together on the Basara Matsuri stage to recreate the radio show in front of the live audience. When they asked the crowd whether anyone listened to the weekly broadcast and saw some affirmative responses, their delighted reactions were adorable. The guests were interviewed in pairs with Ookawa and Seki joining the ladies on stage first - Seki kept fooling around and making strange remarks to the extent that the hosts were struggling to keep him under control. Next came Morita and Morikawa, who work well together thanks to their history hosting various Sengoku Basara radio shows in the past.

Once the radio hosts had finished trying to get straight answers out of the cheeky guests and ended the radio show, the second round of Sengoku Drama Emaki live performances began. Tachiki and Koshimizu played off one another really well with Yoshitsugu's creepy voice coming out of his seiyuu's beaming face. Several of the dialogues prompted loud laughter from the audience. Appropriately, the final scene involved Ieyasu and Mitsunari squaring off at Sekigahara.

After the heavy emotional punch of Ookawa and Seki yelling at one another came a more lighthearted segment: Tenka Wakeme No Quiz Kessen ['The Decisive Quiz to Divide the Country']. The seiyuu were split into teams according to whether their character primarily sided with the Western Army (Seki, Koyama, Tachiki and Ishino) or the Eastern Forces (Ookawa, Koshimizu, Oohara and Morikawa) at Sekigahara. Conveniently, Morita acted as the quiz host instead of taking sides. The prize everyone was fighting for was a 'regional delicacy set' of Nagoya Cochin chicken and Oumi beef, representing the birthplaces of the real life Ieyasu and Mitsunari. Every person who chose the correct answer to a question would be given a Sengoku Basara 3 teacup. At the end of the quiz, the team with the most teacups would be awarded the prize.

The first question asked for the marketing name of the cup noodles which were running a Sengoku Basara promotion that summer. It was multiple choice with the possible answers being Sengoku Basaramen, Menka Touitsu, Sekigaharamen or Tenka Wakemen. I wonder who thinks of these questions?

The answers were split. Ookawa picked Tenka Wakemen and correctly explained that it was chosen for its reference to the battle of Sekigahara. Morikawa answered 'Katakura Goboumen' ('Katakura Burdock Noodles') and was so certain that his invented name was correct that he stuck with it even when it was pointed out that it wasn't one of the options on the list. Seki was similarly stubborn about his pick of Sengoku Basaramen even after noticing all of his teammates had chosen the final option and acknowledging that his 'senpai' were probably right. He'd illustrated his answer with a cartoon pig as though to make it extra convincing.

The second question asked the seiyuu to identify the correct name for the new L2 move in Sengoku Basara 3 (Hero Time, in the English version of the game). The options were Sengoku Burst, Sengoku Boost, Sengoku Roast or Sengoku Toast. Most of the guests chose one of the first two, though Tachiki inexplicably opted for Sengoku Roast and mumbled hopefully that it sounded appropriate. Morikawa picked Sengoku Boost but wrote it with a drawing of a pig instead of the 'bu' character (in Japan, pigs are said to go 'buu' instead of 'oink').

The third question was given by Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) via a prerecorded video message. He asked how much Yukimura's famous rokumonsen coins would be worth today. Although nobody got the answer right (70yen - Oohara was closest with 30yen) the next video from Hoshi got everyone excited when Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) suddenly appeared in the background at the end.

The quiz ended up with the scores tied, so team leaders Seki and Ookawa were called up to play rock-paper-scissors to determine whose army would be awarded the prize. Ookawa eventually triumphed for the Eastern Army with Seki bellowing "Ieyasuuu!" furiously in the background.

With the quiz over, the continuation of Hoshi's prerecorded video was shown, now with Nakai Kazuya joining him for a chat about their characters' shocking roles in the Sengoku Basara 3 story. They also shared some thoughts about it being the fifth anniversary of the series and each performed one of their new Sengoku Basara 3 lines live on camera. All that was left after that was to go back to the seiyuu guests on stage for a final farewell to end the performance. Strangely everyone seemed to have changed outfits for the ending alone - it was actually the ending from the evening show!

--

I mentioned at the start that there were two performances for Basara Matsuri 2010. The afternoon footage was used for the main DVD feature, with most of the hour of bonus footage being composed of clips from the evening show. The first bonus feature was the evening version of the 'Web Radio: Tour Edition' with Oohara and Koshimizu. The guests were the same, but because most of the discussion was made up on the spot the content was completely different. Somehow, in spite of Ookawa's open despair, Seki once again turned the conversation in a lewd direction as quickly as he could. He's probably the worst radio guest I've ever seen (in a good way).

The next bonus clip was a selection of highlights from the Sengoku Drama Emaki live dialogues the cast had performed in the evening. The evening version of the Tenka Wakeme No Quiz Kessen came next. Everyone seemed even more bubbly and energetic than they had earlier in the day.

The first of the evening quiz questions was straightforward: in which year did the Battle of Sekigahara take place? The options were 764, 1192, 1600 or 1867. Everyone correctly selected 1600 (thankfully) except for Morikawa, who simply added a fifth option and wrote his own birth year on his answer sheet.

The second question was about the fighting system in Sengoku Basara 3, asking what the player should do when they get into a sword clash with an enemy. It was multiple choice again, with options for rock-paper-scissors, bashing the buttons, shouting at the controller or waving the controller around. The guests were split between the second and fourth options since so many games had introduced motion controls (Koshimizu even added a note to her answer suggesting that the Wii might allow swinging the control instead of button bashing, her main answer). When the guests discussed their answers and realised the game was dual platform, some of them changed their answers outright - and those who did were then caught out when the answer was traditional button bashing after all.

The third question was provided by another video, this time from Nakai Kazuya. He asked the contestants to complete the famous line that Masamune says when he racks up 1,000 kills during play, "Dokuganryuu wa Date ja nee, ___?" ('The one-eyed dragon is not just for show, ___?'). The seiyuu were distraught at the lack of hints since it wasn't multiple choice.

In the end their answers were quite funny so I copied them all down. Even funnier was seeing them embarrassedly read the lines on stage with actions where appropriate.

Ookawa and Ishino correctly completed the line with "you see?". Oohara went for "cool!" whereas Koshimizu settled on "shall we dance?" after first writing "marvellous!!" and crossing it out. Koyama admitted defeat with "naze ja?!", afterwards bowing down to the assembled fans in shame at his lack of knowledge. Tachiki either didn't know or couldn't let the opportunity for a joke pass by as his answer was "Iga ja!!". He'd intentionally taken the original line's Date/date family name pun literally, so his full answer read more like "The one-eyed dragon is not Date, but Iga!". Seki's meandering answer meant "that's the kind of phrase it is, right?". Last but not least, Morikawa correctly wrote "you see?" but he also added some comedy options which he'd marked with crosses, including "beef or pork?" and "beef or chicken?". Whether this was a reference to a line from Zabii's stage in the older Sengoku Basara games or a coincidental choice of gags, I'm not sure.

Once the answer had been revealed, Hoshi popped up in the video right at the end for a surprise in a reversal of Nakai's unexpected appearance in the afternoon video.

Again, implausibly, the scores were tied. This time Morikawa and Ishino were invited up for a round of rock-paper-scissors to decide the victor, and the Eastern Army won in the end a second time. The poor Western Army can't get a break even in a comedy quiz show.

The final bonus feature on the DVD was a 12-minute 'Making Of Basara Matsuri 2010' compilation. It showed some scenes from the event hall itself (they had the ramen tie-in packaging on display!) as well as close ups of the detail in the stage decorations. Morita contributed some comments from behind the scenes in a hushed tone while the other seiyuu performed. The camera also mischievously showed the seiyuu sitting quietly backstage, disrupting their concentration and revealing that Ookawa apparently gives Seki vigorous back massages while they wait for their turn to appear. Interesting.

Since I've chosen to avoid annoying Capcom by posting screenshots from the disc, pictures and Japanese-language coverage can be found in the full event reports posted by Animate, Dengeki, Famitsu and Gamez.

With this post, I've now covered every Basara Matsuri until the 2013 event takes place. My tedious rambling isn't over yet, though; there are still three more past events which need to be reviewed for my collection to be complete. It never ceases to amaze me how entertaining these video recordings of past seiyuu performances can be.

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