Friday 30 August 2013

News roundup: Cover art for new CD, official website updates and more

Newest Sengoku Basara travel CD cover artwork revealed

Frontier Works' upcoming Burari, Bushou Futaritabi ~Kyouto-hen~ ('Two Warriors Travel Together, Casually ~Kyoto Edition~') CD is being released on 25th September 2013 and we now have a first look at the cover artwork that will be used! The illustration they've chosen by Sengoku Basara 2 manga artist Haibara Yak is gorgeous and well-suited to the subject matter.

Just one week to go until the Kyomaf event and its pre-release celebration for the CD!

New Sengoku Basara merchandise announced for next week's Kyomaf event

On the subject of Kyomaf (Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair 2013), it seems as though Sengoku Basara 4 tofu won't be the only special merchandise on offer for lucky attendees. Capcom has teamed up with local manufacturers and announced the following goodies:

A pack of Daiyasu Sengoku Basara Kyou-tsukemono (traditional Kyoto pickles) for ¥683. The pack includes three varieties: red shiso cucumber, pickled shiso and purple shibazuke.

A pack of six varieties of Onomiyasu Kyou-chazuke (Kyoto tea rice) for ¥893. It's hard to tell from the picture but I think the flavours are shibazuke, Mibuna greens, pickled rapeseed, suguki (a Japanese turnip), plum and wasabi.

Le Grand Bleu has created seven different 'Kyou' prayer bead bracelets priced at ¥840 each. There are designs for Masamune, Yukimura, Keiji, Ieyasu, Mitsunari, Motochika and Motonari, and if you look closely into the main lens the character will be visible (as demonstrated in the bottom right).

Lastly, there'll be a Miyai furoshiki cloth for ¥1,575.

The goods will be available in the event's basement merchandise zone rather than at the main third floor Sengoku Basara booth.

Sengoku Basara Card Heroes Matsuri

Today's official launch of the Mixi Games version of mobile game Sengoku Basara Card Heroes Matsuri seems to have gone well. There are reports that a 'combination card' system is being added to the game, and there will also be a new time-limited campaign.

Players who participate in a 'late summer party' event running from today until 6th September can earn a special Keiji card for the game as well as Masamune and Yukimura cards:

The sudden focus on Keiji makes me wonder if we'll see a hint that he'll 'join the battle' in Sengoku Basara 4 very soon. Kyomaf is just a week away, after all, and he's associated with the Kyoto area...

Official websites updates with profiles for Matabee, Kojuurou, Nobunaga and Mitsuhide

As expected, the official Sengoku Basara 4 website updated yesterday with character pages for Matabee, Kojuurou, Nobunaga and Mitsuhide. The voice samples are also included so we can hear Matabee speak for the very first time.

However, Yukimura is still missing. I guess he's going to be formally revealed in a Weekly Famitsu article soon then make his way to the website after that. My favourite new pictures are these, especially the first one which implies that we'll see Kojuurou facing off against Hanbee at some point in the storyline.

Matabee's facial expression is delightful in this shot, too.

This week's Famitsu rumour was a mistake

I mentioned the rumour that Famitsu had 'revealed' there would be 45 characters associated with Sengoku Basara 4 in an update to my last post. Tousaku has since tweeted that this was an error on Famitsu's part as expected. Thankfully I didn't get my hopes up, especially given the magazine's issues with spelling Masamune's name correctly recently.

New releases for the week: noren and a stage play DVD

The Sengoku Basara noren curtains and DVD edition of the Butai Sengoku Basara 3 Utage stage play should be coming out this weekend. The first batch of DVDs has already been shipped; fans will start receiving them tomorrow. We can expect a renewed surge in interest in the stage play series as everyone settles down to watch the show - it's perhaps especially interesting following the Dengeki PS comments a few weeks ago in which director Yamamoto admitted that they used the stage plays to test new character dynamics.

Speaking of the Butai Sengoku Basara series, there are only two months to go until the next stage play begins its run and a pair of special video messages have been posted to start the promotion for Butai Sengoku Basara 3 Utage Two. The first is from the new cast members: Takigawa Eiji (Date Masamune), Yoshioka Yuu (Sanada Yukimura) and Kawasumi Bishin (Takenaka Hanbee), while the second features Nakamura Seijirou (Ishida Mitsunari), Yoshida Tomokazu (Katakura Kojuuurou) and Murata Youjirou (Sarutobi Sasuke).

Wednesday 28 August 2013

News: A few tidbits from Dengeki Playstation (29th August 2013)

The excitement of Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 2 has yet to subside (and my copy has yet to even arrive!) but already there are a few tiny nuggets of new information to report. Here's a news bulletin to keep everything up to date!

Dengeki Playstation magazine vol. 549 includes a small Sengoku Basara 4 article

I don't believe that anything new was printed in today's Weekly Famitsu magazine other than the news that the game is now 12th in its Most Wanted chart, however Dengeki Playstation has a few comments from the game's director Yamamoto Makoto alongside recycled announcements from last week's reveals. I'm going to translate YamamotoD's statements here.

Gotou Matabee
Look out for the first commander in the Basara series with a chonmage (traditional topknot) hairstyle!
  • Matabee vents his seething resentment by making a list in his Enmachou mark book. The first of his grudges is against Date Masamune; this setup is based on Matabee's historical death in battle at Osaka. The names in second and third place on his list are also based on real-life history.
  • In addition, we created his silhouette with the image of a ferocious dinosaur in mind.
  • While his kabuto (helmet) draws its motif from real history, the round tatemono set off to one side started to resemble a mad scientist.
  • Finally, underneath his helmet he actually has the first topknot hairstyle.
Note: I'm ridiculously excited to hear that he's going to have a chonmage. Even though I love the dramatic haircuts sported by the other warriors, I've secretly hoped they'd do this one day. Matabee's hair looked like a short, messy 'all back' style from the pictures so far; now I want to see him remove his helmet (so much so that I even tried to draw what I hoped it looked like)! It's also worth noting that the 'Enma' in 'Enmachou' was emphasised with furigana.

Katakura Kojuurou
He's depicted as though his way of thinking changes after his encounter with Masamune.
  • This time around, Kojuurou is advancing without understanding his lord Date Masamune's true intentions in suddenly declaring himself the 'Dragon King'.
  • To Kojuurou, a 'King' is a symbol of evil with no regard for the surroundings, just like the Conqueror King (Hideyoshi) or Demon King (Nobunaga). Amidst his concerns, he glimpses something he saw when he met the young Masamune.
  • I think it's the first time in the series that Masamune, too, alludes to the significance and responsibilities of rising up to the top.
  • Please pay attention to the feelings between him and Masamune from the beginning to the present - as well as the way he demonstrates uniquely Japanese katana movements, too.
Oda Nobunaga
Nobunaga embodied the idea of 'surpassing everything'.
  • Along with his new subordinate Katsuie, Nobunaga sets about his 'Tenka Fubu' (conquest by military force).
  • Even though I said he was a subordinate, following his earlier betrayal Katsuie is treated indifferently - like a tool.
  • Also, in real-life history Nobunaga admired the 'sword saint' Ashikaga Yoshiteru.
  • They've tried to create someone who is 'above' Nobunaga for the first time in the series. Yoshiteru's favourite phrase is 'my friends' (with the connotation of a peer or companion, not a literal friend). However, when it comes to Nobunaga, he calls him 'my Demonic friend'.
  • In the build-up to the turbulent Sengoku period, Nobunaga embodies the idea of 'surpassing everything'.
  • When playing, perhaps people will think "This is..?!" (this sentence is so vague it's almost meaningless, but the idea is that he thinks people will be surprised).
Akechi Mitsuhide
It's worth looking out for the way Mitsuhide treats Katsuie.
  • Mitsuhide will be participating in the battle as an enemy warrior.
  • There are probably people wondering "What about that guy?" too - well, maybe we'll see about that (this probably refers to Tenkai, as Nine Demons Yoshitaka wisely pointed out).
  • Please pay close attention to his attitude towards Katsuie within the newborn Oda army. Katsuie doesn't respond at all even when Mitsuhide treats him with considerable scorn.
  • If there's one thing that Mitsuhide likes, it's pleasant people; they make excellent toys - all the better if they're small... 
  • This time, I think we'll see Mitsuhide's more playful side.

For the sake of completeness I'll mention an additional remark I spotted in the description of the new Juugyorin formation I talked about in last week's magazine summaries. It wasn't mentioned before but when ten enemy soldiers stack up in the pyramid shape successfully, they'll be bathed in an intense white light 'as though to symbolise their power'.

There's also an interesting picture showing Mitsuhide trapped between two Nobunagas. The Dengeki Playstation caption says nothing more enlightening than "As the pair face off in a Honnouji wrapped in flames, another Nobunaga appears before them...!?". The two seem to be staring intensely towards one another, and it's possible this was the sight which had both Nobunaga and Mitsuhide so shocked in the previous news reveals. Has Nobunaga found a way to clone himself, or is this trickery of some kind, perhaps involving Yoshiteru's shaku weapon? Is the world big enough for two Demon Kings?

For those keeping score, the game has dropped all the way down to 17th place in the magazine's Most Wanted chart (it had climbed to 14th place three weeks ago).

The official Sengoku Basara 4 website will update tonight

We're due for an update on the official Sengoku Basara 4 website overnight to add character pages for Nobunaga, Mitsuhide, Kojuurou and Matabee. Hopefully the voice samples will arrive at the same time, and it's possible that Yukimura will show up on the site too. It would be nice to have confirmation about his official Sengoku Basara 4 portrait once and for all.

Ii Naotora rumoured to be the next new character to join the Sengoku Basara 4 roster

I tweeted about this earlier as ripples of excitement were spreading amongst Japanese fans, and Nine Demons Yoshitaka has posted the details over on the Koei Warriors forum. Ii Naotora is an interesting choice as the series has generally used her popular successor Ii Naomasa to represent the Ii clan. It's great to see indications that a female warrior might be joining the new additions. I hope the rumour is true.

The next issue of Dengeki Maoh will include Mame Sengoku Basara goodies

This next piece of news comes courtesy of Dengeki Maoh magazine, the monthly manga anthology in which Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara is serialised. Next month's issue will be released on 27th September 2013 and feature a Mame Sengoku Basara front cover as well as a bonus clear file featuring Sumeragi's artwork, obviously designed to tie in with the release of Mame Sengoku Basara volume 4. I wonder which characters will be shown on the exclusive clear file?


Edit 29/08/2013: It seems that there was a tiny mention in Weekly Famitsu after all. Tousaku tweeted about a small news bulletin describing the Akai Hane/Sengoku Basara 4 charity drive tie-in where it was mentioned that there would be a total of 45 warriors. Before everyone panics, it's worth bearing in mind that the charity campaign starts in October and it's difficult to believe that Capcom will announce another 32 characters within the space of a month. Interestingly 45 is the exact number of playable characters in the series so far if Tenkai and the younger Ieyasu are ignored and Yoshiteru is included instead. It might be that the charity campaign will use a mixture of old and new character artwork and there was a mistake communicating this to Famitsu. I'm not going to buy the magazine for a single line of vague text, but gosh, I'd really like there to be 45 generals in the new game no matter how unlikely it might be!
Edit 29/08/2013: I realised I missed a line thanks to Nine Demons Yoshitaka so I added it to Mitsuhide's description. Oops!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

News roundup: Sengoku Basara on Kindle and other miscellaneous news

Amazon Japan lists Sengoku Basara manga in the Kindle Store

A wave of older Sengoku Basara manga volumes have been released on Amazon Japan's Kindle Store in the last few days, including Sumeragi's Mini Sengoku Basara Two and Mame Sengoku Basara as well as all three volumes of the manga adaptation of TV Anime Sengoku Basara by Sasakura Kou. These join existing Kindle versions of Gakuen Basara 1-5, Sengoku Basara Kagaku Kenkyuujo and a few of the early series guide books. Since the series' title is written half in English, anyone can search for the books by typing 'Basara' into the search box at the Kindle Store.

Living outside Japan? No problem; it's possible to buy Kindle books on Amazon Japan for your foreign Kindle or smartphone by following this handy guide. Shipping charges are the bane of book collectors overseas so this could be a very useful workaround if they're continuing to add new content.

Cover art for Mame Sengoku Basara volume 4 revealed

One side effect of the Sengoku Basara Magazine website update today was that we were treated to a sample image showing the new cover art for Mame Sengoku Basara volume 4. The book will be released in late September as previously reported and it can be ordered from online stores such as Amazon Japan and CD Japan. I'd imagine it will be going straight to the Kindle Store as well this time as soon as it's released.

Fan submissions wanted for the next volume of Sengoku Basara Magazine

The third volume of Sengoku Basara Magazine will include a new Showgeki Basara Talk! CD, this time starring Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) and Koyasu Takehito (Sarutobi Sasuke). Just like before, the staff want fans to send in their questions, ideas and drawings to be used for the magazine and seiyuu talk show. The deadline for submissions for the CD is 25th September 2013; contact details can be found on the magazine's website. I suspect that only Japanese-language contributions will be accepted (other than drawings, of course).

Rumours from Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 2 continue to trickle in

My goodness, how many people out there were silently waiting for the news about Yukimura in Sengoku Basara 4? The number of hits on my previous news post is incredible.

Since noon today I've been updating that post with the biggest rumours from Japanese fans who already have their copies of the new Sengoku Basara Magazine, so I won't repeat them here. Please check out the article again for the latest on what to expect in the next issue and what's been discovered so far in the current one.

Now that he's been revealed it's possible we'll be seeing Yukimura mentioned in Famitsu or Dengeki Playstation magazine this week and he might be added to the roster in the next official website update too. The Sengoku Basara 4 news just keeps on coming!

Today's acquisitions (27th August 2013)

Today's mountain of deliveries sadly didn't include my copy of Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 2, which is still somewhere in Japan on its way to me. Instead, I received Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn for PS3, my The Unlimited -Hyoubu Kyousuke- Archive book with exclusive Kyousuke strap and a Kick-Heart pack from the very first Kickstarter campaign I backed. Oh, and the DVD/BD combo pack of Haganai (Boku Ha Tomodachi Ga Sukunai) from the US.

My first batch of Comiket 84 doujinshi purchases arrived too.

Sunday 25 August 2013

News: Sanada Yukimura to appear in Sengoku Basara 4

I will update this as more rumours come in from advance leaks of Tuesday's magazine, but Twitter user akiticdm has posted a picture of the final Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 2 cover and it's confirmed Yukimura for the new game. The cover also has a new CG illustration.

Amazon Japan has now updated with the full new cover too so I've changed to the gigantic version of the picture.

A lot of people are saying that Yukimura looks younger than he did in Sengoku Basara 3. Masamune looked young on the cover of the first issue too yet his Sengoku Basara 4 illustration ended up keeping his appearance from the previous game, so this might just be a deliberate stylistic choice for the sake of the magazine. It will be nice to see a Yukimura full of his original hot-blooded energy in Sengoku Basara 4, though, so I'm going to hope it's a clue!

I'll write a full review of the magazine when my copy (hopefully) arrives later in the week.

Edit 27/08/2013: Japanese fans have started receiving their copies and posting information, so I'll list what I've seen here. Please consider these completely unsubstantiated rumours at the moment even though the source is usually reliable.
  • The next issue will have Tokugawa Ieyasu on the cover and as the main feature. There will also be a cute Ieyasu rubber strap.
  • The next bonus CD will be presented by Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) and Koyasu Takehito (Sarutobi Sasuke). It's marked as 'volume 1' so it will probably run for two issues like the Date-themed CDs.
  • Yukimura is said to address Sasuke in a quote from Sengoku Basara 4 (so he'll be included in the story somewhere). Oyakata-sama will also appear in the story, but neither of them has been confirmed as playable.
  • Yukimura is still in the Takeda forces and trying to bring the turbulent era to an end.
  • In a quote he corrects himself, addressing Shingen as Oyakata-sama then as Takeda Shingen and declaring that he'll throw down a challenge to him. Without knowing the context it's hard to be sure what this line relates to.
  • His qualities of hot-bloodedness and purity have supposedly been given a boost. This Yukimura will be a straightforward, hot-blooded guy, as he was in the original game.
  • Yukimura's Sengoku Basara 4 story will have links to Mitsunari and Sakon. The magazine includes a picture of him facing off against Sakon and another where he's confronting Mitsunari.
  • Masamune will appear in Yukimura's story too. One person said he is going to try to put a stop to Masamune becoming a king that the people will fear and shun.
  • It seems that the magazine's cover illustration may actually be his character art from the game since it also shows up inside. However, it might be temporary.
  • The next issue will also include a manga called Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara (tentative title) by Tane Jugou. It will be an official Capcom-approved slice-of-life manga about the commanders reimagined as cute animals (I have to ask based on the comments on my blog the other day: SHD, are you psychic?).
  • The next issue will come out in 'Autumn 2013'.
  • The magazine's official website has been updated with the Yukimura cover for Mame Sengoku Basara volume four as well as details for submitting questions for the next magazine's CD. I'll put it all in a proper news post after work since it's official information.
  • More miscellaneous Twitter links: new shot of Shikanosuke, Sakon/Yukimura, Mitsunari/Yukimura
Relatedly, staff at one Animate store in Japan were apparently delighted about Yukimura's return.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Manga review: Sengoku Basara Comic Anthology 'Takedagun Chronicle'

The 132-page Sengoku Basara Comic Anthology 'Takedagun Chronicle' was released by ASCII Media Works in the Dengeki Comics EX line on 31st July 2013. Priced at ¥850 (¥893 with taxes), it can be purchased from all good import book stores and manga specialists such as Yesasia, Amazon Japan or CD Japan.

Like the Dategun Chronicle anthology earlier in the year, this book is packed with light-hearted short stories themed around a particular faction from the Sengoku Basara series - in this case, the Takeda forces. Fans of Yukimura, Shingen or Sasuke are likely to be fully satisfied by the variety of content included. People who don't enjoy their antics should probably avoid this release...wait, do people who dislike the Takeda 'family' actually exist?

The list of contributors who worked on this anthology includes a mixture of Sengoku Basara veterans and doujinshi creators, meaning that there's a blend of different art styles on display. Satsuki You's striking red cover artwork paves the way for three more colour illustrations inside by artists Sasakura Kou, Hitaki and Yamada Uiro. A selection of short manga by the rest of the creators follow which I've summarised below. Samples of the chapters by Arai Karo, S. Kosugi, Akaboshi Tatsumi and Sorano were posted on the Dengeki Maoh website to demonstrate the variety on offer.

Shujuu No Kizuna ('The Bond Between A Master And Servant')
from Sengoku Basara 3 Utage
Arai Karo
Sasuke pops to Osaka Castle to pay the Western Army a visit now that Yukimura is considering joining them. When Yoshitsugu calls for help, Sasuke is surprised to find that Yukimura is already there at Mitsunari's side. Things go from bad to worse when his commander misreads the situation and thinks that his loyal ninja is an imposter sent by Ieyasu...

Thursday 22 August 2013

News roundup: Sengoku Basara 4 will be at this year's Tokyo Game Show

Capcom weren't kidding about increasing the pace of Sengoku Basara 4 information! I've had a lot of incoming newsletters to sift through this morning; here are the highlights.

Sengoku Basara 4 stage event to be held at Tokyo Game Show 2013

Tokyo Game Show is coming up soon and Capcom announced today that they'll be showing off an early playable demo of Sengoku Basara 4 at the event. There will also be a Sengoku Basara 4 stage presentation with details yet to be confirmed.

The public days are on 21st (Saturday) and 22nd (Sunday) September 2013 so I hope there'll be good coverage online (there's a very good chance that Capcom will stream it themselves). As part of the event, fans will be able to get exclusive unlock codes for various Capcom properties including a special Sanada Yukimura card for the Sengoku Basara Card Heroes Matsuri mobile game. The preview picture is tiny...

To add to the fun, Capcom is recruiting fifty 'My Capcom Supporters' to report on their booth via Twitter with the incentive of receiving priority access to the playable game at the show. The application period ends at 23:59 on 28th August 2013. This is one of many times that living in Japan would be convenient.

Sengoku Basara 4 official website updates

For the benefit of anyone reading these news updates as they come in without seeing old posts, Capcom's Sengoku Basara 4 official website was updated this morning with details of the enemy formations and new characters revealed in this week's Famitsu magazine. The next website update is scheduled for Thursday 29th August 2013, which is when the profile pages will open up for the four new characters. I updated yesterday's post with a translation of the Famitsu article overnight and a small picture of Kojuurou someone posted on Twitter.

Famitsu adds online coverage of today's magazine article

Famitsu have since added a report to go with the magazine article, with more pictures. Interestingly there's also a little more text for Mitsuhide whose coverage in the original was rather sparse. A line has been added to his description noting that he moves separately to the main Oda forces with unknown intentions. Right at the bottom where Mitsuhide and Nobunaga are together in a burning building (presumably Honnouji), the caption asks whether someone else has appeared in front of Mitsuhide at that moment?

In another line, it's mentioned that Matabee's weapon symbolises his brutality. Also, they spelled Masamune's name incorrectly again. Not that it bugs me, or anything...

Gamer and 4Gamer have also since updated to add their own coverage.

A look back at Gotou Matabee back in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage

I completely forgot to do this for Matabee! Here are some terrible pictures showing his previous incarnation as a non-playable ally/bodyguard in the Sengoku Basara 3 era, where he was linked to Kanbee's army. They chose a different kabuto crest when they changed him to be a playable character and he used to brandish a rake-like spear; there's very little resemblance to his proper design. Still, it's interesting to look back. The shabby, torn jinbaori he wore was a similar colour if nothing else.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

News: Weekly Famitsu (22nd August 2013) announces more Sengoku Basara 4 characters

The 5th September issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine (which comes out tomorrow) has fallen into the hands of some lucky fans in Japan and it seems there are more new characters announced for Sengoku Basara 4.

Strangely there are four characters even though we know we should have five new ones by Tuesday. It makes sense that they're bolstering the Oda army now to prevent the game's theme of 'Sengoku Creation' turning into a one-sided 'Toyotomi Creation', but are they still saving Yukimura for next week's Sengoku Basara Magazine...?

This time we have three returning veterans and one new face. Since one of the returning characters has been made unplayable, can we expect some changes to his move set? It's odd because he was only just made playable again in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage (as his alter ego Tenkai).

It might make sense if there are plans for him to be a paid downloadable character later on; it could be argued that fans can already use him in the previous game which lets the team focus on other characters. In that case, none of the Sengoku Basara 3 Utage veterans are safe from the axe. I'd much prefer DLC to a completely unplayable character.

Anyway, here are the character details from Famitsu. Twitter user mariko_zero has some pictures: Matabee/Kojuurou, Nobunaga/Mitsuhide, gameplay, introduction, Matabee close-up. Hyakki26 added a better picture of Kojuurou.

Gotou Matabee 後藤又兵衛
Character image phrase: 執心流浪 Shuushin Rurou ('Obsessive Wandering')
Seiyuu: Miki Shinichirou
Weapon: Kiba ('strange blade', but pronounced like 'fang'). It's a curved, uneven blade.
Playable: Yes
Description: Originally a warrior in the Kuroda forces, now he drifts around the country of Hinomoto (Japan) with no master. Matabee is very proud and holds a strong grudge against anyone who wounds his pride, vindictively stalking them and writing their name in his 'Matabee Enmachou'.

The screenshots show Matabee launching enemies into the air with a variety of slashing moves, with the caption declaring that whether it's cutting or throwing, he's suited to any kind of battlefield. He can throw his kiba like a boomerang, controlling its trajectory to sweep up enemies in its path.

He's also shown creepily leaping towards Masamune's back, with the caption stating that Date Masamune's name is written right at the top of Matabee's mark book. What kind of grudge could he possibly have against Masamune?

Notes: An 'Enmachou' is a normal teacher's mark book, however the kanji in the word happen to include the name of Enma, the Buddhist god of hell. They are likely playing on this idea to create a sinister character (with a vague Death Note theme?). I'm being strict about romanising and going with 'Matabee' to match 'Hanbee' and 'Kanbee'. It's fine to use alternatives like 'Matabei' or 'Matabe' if you prefer them.

"A puppet...? A match for Matabee-sama...? There's no way, right? I said right... RIGHT?"

Katakura Kojuurou 片倉小十郎
Character image phrase: 仁吼義侠 Jinkou Gikyou ('Benevolent Roaring Chivalry')
Seiyuu: Morikawa Toshiyuki
Weapon: Katana
Playable: Yes
Description: Masamune's trusted retainer, who also goes by the name "Right Eye of the Dragon". Kojuurou's sword skill has reached the level of a master and he also possesses calm judgement as a tactician. His existence is indispensable to the Date forces. While supporting his lord Date Masamune in proclaiming himself the "Dragon King", he watches over him so he doesn't go off track. Another of Kojuurou's duties is repelling raids by Matabee, who is shadowing Masamune. For many of the commanders - not just Masamune - there'll be more drama than ever before in this game's depiction of the turbulent Sengoku period.

His unique skills can all be modified by holding the button down. Kojuurou protects his lord Masamune with a single katana. As part of his role as the Right Eye of the Dragon, he uses a multitude of unique techniques in quick succession. What is he thinking when he holds the sword engraved with the name "Bonten"?

Note: In the real world, Katakura Kojuurou was said to be responsible for killing Gotou Matabee in battle. This feat would actually have been performed by the son of the original Kojuurou - however, Capcom often blends Katakura Kagetsuna and Katakura Shigenaga together into one character, so it's likely to have relevance this time as well.

"It's an order from the Dragon King...Masamune-sama. I'm going to make every single one of you yield."

Oda Nobunaga 織田信長
Character image phrase: 征天魔王 Seiten Maou ('Demon King Conquering The Heavens')
Seiyuu: Wakamoto Norio
Weapon: Sword/shotgun
Playable: Yes
Description: The supreme commander of the Oda army, feared as the Demon King. He continues his merciless march as though to burn the whole country to ashes and reign over the land of Hinomoto with terror. Disinterested in the matter of Shibata Katsuie's past rebellion, he treats him as he would any other rank and file soldier. With the appearance of the final Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, seeing how Nobunaga takes aim at the country will be one of the highlights of the game's drama.

Long range shotgun attacks can be used in normal form, while powerful sword attacks can be performed by switching to 'Rokuma No Ou' form in battle. He demonstrates overwhelming power - as befits the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven. What will happen when the 'Demon King' Nobunaga and the 'Emperor' Yoshiteru come together!?

"I'm the one who conquers everything. The human world... the world of desires...from the sea of heaven to far beyond...!"

Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀
Character image phrase: 冷眼下瞰 Reigan Kakan ('Coldly Looking Down')
Seiyuu: Hayami Shou
Weapon: Scythe
Playable: No
Description: The scythe-swinging aide to the Demon King, Akechi Mitsuhide of the Oda army appears as an enemy warlord. Regardless of whether it's a friend or foe, he likes to watch blood flowing and people suffering. This abnormality is also directed at his lord, Nobunaga...

"It's rather noisy... perhaps you won't understand until you're turned into a corpse?"


Some additional notes about the gameplay which aren't specific to any individual character:

The 'nameless' enemy soldiers are finally getting serious after being nothing more than cannon fodder in the series so far. They'll have 'tacticians' amongst them who can coordinate the others by giving orders. Thus, enemies which were moving separately will join up in a military formation, becoming a powerful adversary and blocking the way. The magazine calls this ability a 'combined military formation' ('jinkei gattai'). The pictures show examples of the formations in action so I translated the captions too - the names are adapted from real-life military techniques, of course.
  • Juugyorin ('Gun Fish Scales'). A rain of bullets will pour down! This is a formation for enemy soldiers with guns where they all stack up like a pyramid. It's easy to defend against a single rifle bullet, but if they're all fired together it becomes a threat.
  • What happens if the tactician is defeated before the formation is complete!?
  • Ootatetate ('Huge Shield'). An impregnable formation with 12 neatly-arranged shields! Soldiers with spears and shields gather together and form a single huge wall. Ootatetate allows them to attack people nearby with their spears while protected by the wall. It's said to be a very practical formation. To destroy it, going around the back would seem to be the only option, but it won't be that easy. Perhaps it's possible to jump over the top!?
  • There may be an opportunity to break through before the formation is complete - after that the reach of the long spears will become a threat. Stray too close and a strike from the spears is waiting! Using teamwork with your comrade might be the key to capturing this mighty fortress.
  • Ookurumagakari ('Great Winding Wheel'). The soldiers combine vertically! A splendid spinning attack! It starts off looking like a piggyback-ride, then with a rapid roll it becomes a large wheel - a surprising formation! The challenge is how to avoid this speeding rush attack.
  • The troops ride on one another's shoulders in threes and fours, then combine! Don't underestimate the teamwork of ordinary soldiers. The enormous wheel comes towards you at a blistering speed!
  • Kakuyoku No Jin ('Crane Wing Formation'). A gigantic tornado approaches!! If the Ookurumagakari involves vertical rotation, this one is horizontal rotation. A giant tornado is created from the vigorous spinning of the soldiers who connect their spears together! What can be done about it if you'll be swept up by getting too close? Is there some way of stopping the rotation..?
  • Three soldiers spin around using spears as a pivot! As their turning speed increases, a tornado is formed!
The game has moved up to twelfth position in Famitsu's Most Wanted charts. It's climbing steadily each time. I noticed that they used the wrong kanji for Masamune's name at one point in the article.

Our next news should either be on Tuesday next week when the magazine launches (unless details leak earlier) or with an update to the official website in the next few days.

Update 21/08/2013 (evening): Added descriptions for everything. Just need some pictures when the official website adds them and then this post is complete!
Update 22/08/2013: The official website has updated so I added pictures of the characters. This post is now complete. The official website will update again on the 29th August to add character pages for the four newcomers.
Update 22/08/2013: Famitsu has posted details from the magazine article on their website, so the descriptions in this post hopefully now make more sense with pictures available too.

DVD review: Basara Matsuri 2013 ~Haru No Jin~

This will be an unusually short review since I already covered most of the event in my full report back when it was all relatively fresh in my mind!

It's also an unusually prompt review, by my standards. The DVD is due for general release on 4th September 2013 priced at ¥5,800, but customers who purchased through e-Capcom, the official fan club shop or Otomart were treated to a special early release starting on the 10th July 2013 instead. Less impatient fans can easily obtain their copies at shops which regularly trade overseas such as Amiami.

Basara Matsuri 2013 ~Haru No Jin~ was a two-day event held on the weekend of the 30th and 31st March 2013, with one performance each day. The venue was the Ryougoku Kokugikan sumo hall within easy reach of the centre of Tokyo. There were 6,000 fans in attendance for each performance according to comments made in the DVD extras.

The most significant thing to come out of this Basara Matsuri was the news that the team was making Sengoku Basara 4. In retrospect, it was rather impressive that the staff managed to sell 12,000 full price tickets to an event with no scheduled announcements at a time when interest in the apparently-abandoned series was slowly evaporating. The power of the actors who appeared on stage as guests cannot be underestimated.

The DVD edition contains footage shot live at Basara Matsuri spread over two discs along with a luxurious 16-page colour booklet full of photographs. The booklet even includes unique studio pictures of the guests shot prior to the event to give it extra value. The cover art was used in the original promotional material too - part of the trend of using pictures of Hanbee to advertise things in which Hanbee doesn't actually appear.

The first of the two DVDs is wholly devoted to the Saturday performance with the other containing Sunday's show as well as some bonus material. The full guest list was colossal. I'll list everyone again for this review, starting with the seiyuu:

Monday 19 August 2013

News roundup: Lots of new Sengoku Basara 4 merchandise due next month

Sorry about two news roundup posts in two days, but this one has so many pictures that it had to be broken up. One of the Capcom producers (not KobaP) mentioned that new information will be coming at a faster pace soon!

Update 20/08/2013: Annual charity drive to offer Sengoku Basara 4 rewards

Continuing the trend of unusual tie-ins, Japan's annual Akai Hane Kyoudou Bokin ('Red Feather Community Chest') charity drive is set to include a Sengoku Basara 4 collaboration this year. A special clear file will be available in 31 prefectures of Japan, featuring Masamune on one side and other Sengoku Basara 4 characters on the back, and in addition there'll be matching Sengoku Basara 4 posters carrying the charity's message. The goal of the collaboration is to raise awareness of the charity's work amongst a younger demographic. There's a poignant undercurrent to Masamune heading up the drive too: the charity is very active in areas hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which hit the Miyagi region that the real-life Masamune was closely associated with especially hard.

Mobile game Sengoku Basara Card Heroes Matsuri to expand to Mixi

It was announced today that fans with feature phones will soon be able to play Sengoku Basara Card Heroes Matsuri on Mixi Games. People who register in advance between 19 and 29th August 2013 will receive a special in-game 'Are You Ready?' card depicting Masamune.

New Sengoku Basara merchandise revealed for late September

This wasn't an announcement as such, however a huge wave of new merchandise listings appeared this morning on a number of online shopping sites. Here are the items which I've found so far, all dated for release in late September 2013. It looks as though Capcom want to make some money off their fans this autumn!

Be careful as the translated AmiAmi listings imply they're all Sengoku Basara 4 images, when actually the 'deformed'-style drawings are nothing to do with the new game. Having said that, I'm not sure I'd seen the 'deformed'-style Hideyoshi and Hanbee before now. It's a shame the early pictures are so tiny.

Set of five Sengoku Basara 4 tin badges (¥682):

Clear files (¥367 each): Masamune/Katsuie, Mitsunari/Sakon, Sengoku Basara 4, 'Deformed' characters

IC card stickers (¥840 each): Sengoku Basara 4, 'Deformed' characters

Plastic keychains (¥525 each): Mitsunari/Sakon, Masamune/Katsuie, Masamune/Yukimura, Ieyasu/Mitsunari

Sengoku Basara 4 makie stickers (¥525 each): Masamune, Mitsunari, Katsuie, Sakon

Mini pouches (¥630 each): Sengoku Basara 4, 'Deformed' characters

Mobile phone 'pin jack' cleaners (¥630 each): Mitsunari/Sakon, Masamune/Katsuie, Sengoku Basara 4, 'Deformed' characters

Sengoku Basara 4 tapestry/wall scroll (¥2,400):

I'm tempted by the 'deformed' clear file (for the picture of the Toyotomi pair), the badges and the makie stickers. The credit card-style Masamune IC card sticker also looks fantastic. Must resist...

Update 20/08/2013: Added Akai Hane story rather than posting yet another news roundup!

Sunday 18 August 2013

News roundup: Tracklist for Capcom's 30th Anniversary Music Best CD

Tracklist revealed for the Capcom 30th Anniversary Music Best: Original & Arrange CD

I mentioned this CD before and we now have a full track list for the celebratory Capcom 30th Anniversary Music Best: Original & Arrange album. It's still due for release on 25th September 2013 priced at ¥3,000.

To recap, the album is split across two CDs. The 'original' disc features forty popular tracks from Vulgus, Makaimura (Ghosts'n Goblins), Rockman (Megaman), Street Fighter II, Rockman X (Megaman X), Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney), Monster Hunter, Sengoku Basara, Okami and Dragon's Dogma.

The second 'arrange' disc gives ten popular artists a chance to rearrange famous Capcom songs in their own styles. The contributors are DJ KN, ARM (IOSYS), Tetsu x Neko, REDALiCE, Deadball-P, OSTER project, sasakure.UK, SOUND HOLIC, Sakamoto Kyouju and SWING HOLIC.

It turns out that there will be four 'original' Sengoku Basara tracks on the first CD: SENGOKU BASARA, Thunderbolt, Under Pressure and The Abyss - all from the very first game in the series. The arranged track on the second disc will be SENGOKU BASARA which has been left in the capable hands of SOUND HOLIC.

Since I already own the original tracks this would be a very expensive purchase for a single song. Fortunately I'm quite excited by the idea of OSTER project remixing Gyakuten Saiban's Ayasato Mayoi ~Gyakuten Sisters' Theme~ and a few of the other interesting-sounding combinations, so I'm telling myself it's a good deal. There's a preview of the rearranged tracks here which skips the ones I'm most interested in entirely so I'm hoping a second preview video will be posted before long. The album can be preordered from most online stores including Amazon Japan, AmiAmi, Yesasia and CD Japan.

Sengoku Basara 4 website update

Sengoku Basara 4 official website updated last week with the opening of the 'action' section, which shows off the new Giga Basara techniques and the 'war comrades' screenshots which ran in magazines a few days earlier.

Footage from Seki Tomokazu's appearance at Otakon 2013

Some footage has appeared on YouTube showing HokutoNoBen's conversation with seiyuu Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) at Otakon last week, which I mentioned before.

The topic turns towards Sengoku Basara at around the 6:00 mark in the video and the unofficial confirmation that Yoshitsugu will be in the game in some form comes around 7:54. Unfortunately the sound quality makes it difficult to hear HokutoNoBen's side of the chat, and if you turn the sound up then please prepare to be deafened when Seki performs his trademark shout at the end of the exchange!


Though that's all for now, I'm expecting some big Sengoku Basara 4 news this week unless they're saving it all for next week's magazine release. The Obon period was quiet and with the magazine and Kyomaf on the horizon it feels as though it's time to pick up the pace!

Saturday 17 August 2013

Book review: Sengoku Basara 3 Dengeki Visual & Sound Book

The Sengoku Basara 3 Dengeki Visual & Sound Book was the very last in the 'Visual & Sound Book' series. Published on 26th March 2011 by ASCII Media Works, it's still available from good Japanese bookstores such as Yesasia, CD Japan and Amazon Japan at the original price of ¥1,900 (¥1,995 with tax). There are a handful of small preview illustrations available on Capcom's website here.

Sengoku Basara 3 Dengeki Visual & Sound Book is only 80 pages in length and comes with a special 31-minute audio CD. There's no continuity between this and the other four Visual & Sound Books so everything can be enjoyed even if you don't have the earlier volumes.

The book opens with the usual 'Gravure of Heroes' with the theme 'VerSus Heroes', i.e. portraits showing pairs of characters together - usually mid-battle.

Capcom brought in some of their very best Sengoku Basara illustrators to make this set of pictures particularly rewarding. Sumeragi is up first with a gorgeous drawing of Ieyasu and Mitsunari clashing the way they do in the Sengoku Basara 3 opening movie. It's hard to believe that the artist behind the cute Mini Sengoku Basara Two and Mame Sengoku Basara manga can also handle a cool fight scene using a more conventional art style.

Today's acquisitions (17th August 2013)

A couple of manga shipments make today's deliveries look extra-generous.

Some English-language manga first of all, with the latest volumes of Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji), Kaze Hikaru, Otomen and Bakuman. They're joined by some miscellaneous Japanese Zettai Karen Children tankoubon, two of which came with special edition extras (a school calendar and rubber straps for the 'Karen GUYs'). I have a full set now, though there's one more special edition item I want if I can find a used copy...

Continuing the Zettai Karen Children theme are the two most recent special edition Blu-rays of The Unlimited -Hyoubu Kyousuke- which both come with character song CDs. The final volume has slipped back a month so it will be a while before my collection is complete.

One of the most exciting items in the picture is Style Five's Splash Free CD single; I can finally take the ending theme to FREE! on my commute every morning! The US combo pack of Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail and a pair of Japanese movies: An Assassin and High School War: Throwdown! (Gachinko: Kenka Joutou). I ordered them in a wave of emotion back when it was announced Kubota Yuuki would no longer be playing Date Masamune in Butai Sengoku Basara. It seems he'll be playing cool, thuggish guys in both, so I'm looking forward to giving them a watch. People in the US can watch the second film on Crunchyroll instead of waiting months for a print-on-demand DVD to ship from Amazon like I did.

The last item is a free Kuroko No Basuke Momoi charm courtesy of Yesasia.

Now I'd better stop slacking off and finish those two reviews I have in my pipeline. My next deliveries in a couple of weeks are set to include Sengoku Basara Magazine and some rather expensive Comiket 84 doujinshi purchases.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

News roundup: More Sengoku Basara content at Kyomaf and a site calendar

It's the Obon period at the moment, which means no new magazines or major news stories from Japan. I took the opportunity to add a calendar to the tabs at the top of this site to monitor upcoming Sengoku Basara releases and news. It's likely that it will fall into disrepair at some stage, but I hope that having a calendar helps keep track of what's going on.

Capcom announces another stage presentation for upcoming Kyomaf event

Kyomaf is quickly approaching, and it seems that Capcom will be treating fans in Japan to a second stage presentation. I previously reported that there would be a presentation on 7th September 2013 for attendees who were lucky enough to win tickets in a lottery draw; well, Capcom has decided to hold another at 13:30 the following day for anyone at the event to attend. The second event will only involve producer KobaP and director YamamotoD; Morikawa Toshiyuki's appearance is exclusive to the Saturday stage show. It sounds as though the staff have a lot to talk about...

Gyoubu to return in Sengoku Basara 4?

According to HokutoNoBen who managed to attend an Otakon Q&A panel with seiyuu Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) at the weekend, we should be seeing Yoshitsugu back in Sengoku Basara 4. This hasn't been confirmed by Capcom and there's no indication of whether he'll be playable or not; still, it's promising news!

Capcom gets involved with this year's Masamune-kou Matsuri (again)

Promotion has begun for the 50th local Masamune-kou Matsuri held on 7th-8th September 2013 in Iwadeyama-machi (Oosaki). This year, one of the posters used to promote the festival will use a special Sengoku Basara 4 design instead of the normal anime drawings.

Here are the posters used for the last three years for comparison, starting with the 47th festival back in 2010:

The 48th festival in 2011 had a wider gap between the more traditional design and the Sengoku Basara one:

While the 49th annual event in 2012 used similar imagery:

I love seeing the festival posters on display! The Oni Kojuurou Matsuri in nearby Shiroishi sometimes runs matching posters with Kojuurou drawn on them. I guess it can't use a Sengoku Basara 4 poster unless Kojuurou is confirmed for the game...

Manga review: Mame Sengoku Basara volume 3

The third volume of Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 3 ('Bean Sengoku Basara 3') manga was released on 27th March 2013 by ASCII Media Works. The specification is the same as before with 126 pages for ¥780, however this time there are only eight chapters rather than the usual ten. It's available online from import stores such as YesasiaAmazon Japan or CD Japan.

The first two-chapter story introduces Yoshiaki as he visits the Maeda base to carry out his plan to kidnap Matsu for the good of the Eastern army. He's swiftly overcome by her delicious cooking and his plan fails, so he decides to try again later. Unfortunately, by that time the ladies of Sengoku Basara 3 have all come to stay with the Maeda family. Though they look harmless when they're talking about romance and eating sweets together, appearances can be deceiving...

The setting then completely changes and has Yukimura visiting Hirotsuna with Sasuke and Mitsunari in tow. He's hoping that Hirotsuna will be able to teach him how to work with tigers. The two hit it off, but will Yukimura actually succeed in his quest?

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Book review: Sengoku Basara Kagaku Kenkyuujo (Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory)

Between September 2012 and January 2013, Yanagita Rikao of the Kuusou Kagaku Kenyuujo ('Fantasy Science Laboratory') wrote a series of eighteen columns for Famitsu's blog portal. The original goal of these articles was to promote Sengoku Basara HD Collection in a light-hearted way by having Yanagita analyse the moves and weapons used in the Sengoku Basara series, trying to uncover the real-world physics which made the techniques possible. I posted rough translations of all eighteen columns on this blog back when they first appeared (there wasn't much Sengoku Basara news to report on back then).

A compilation of the blog posts was released by Enterbrain in their Famitsu Books line on 28th June 2013. Sengoku Basara Kagaku Kenkyuujo ('Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory') was priced at ¥1,100 and sold through import book stores such as Yesasia, Amazon Japan or CD Japan; however, the first print run sold out within days of release. I expect that a second edition will be available very soon.

Given that the original blog entries were relatively short, the fact that this book is 176 pages long is a sign that the author has included some additional content. The videos from the original blog posts have been swapped for explanatory game screenshots while the comical diagrams by illustrator Morinaga Pizza remain. There are six new illustrations exclusive to the book edition.

After an introduction and a recap of the previous Sengoku Basara games, the book goes straight into the character profiles.

Monday 12 August 2013

Anime review: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure volume 5

Even though it's taken me a little while to get to this next disc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the fifth volume might be my favourite yet! The arrival of some new characters adds a new dimension to the character dynamics in play.

This fifth Japanese Blu-ray disc contains episodes thirteen to fifteen, the second set of episodes which belong to the Battle Tendency arc.

As usual, spoilers for these episodes may follow.

By the end of volume four, Joseph Joestar had become tangled in a mess much greater in scope than he'd expected when he first travelled to Mexico. His brush with German soldiers and the mysterious Santana has now lead him all the way to Rome, where three more 'pillar men' are said to be sleeping.

I mentioned Joseph's appeal as a protagonist in my comments on the previous disc. If there was one thing missing, it was that he had nobody to react to his cocky attitude and take him down a peg or two; JoJo often ended up talking to himself. Well, this volume takes care of that problem with the introduction of the fabulous Caesar Zeppeli.

Self-confident and dazzling; what's not to love?

Saturday 10 August 2013

News roundup: The return of the Sengoku Basara One Coin Grande figure collection?

Kotobukiya to reissue Sengoku Basara One Coin Grande figures with two new characters

Comiket 84 is taking place in Japan this weekend and it's extremely exciting (not to mention jealousy-inducing) watching the reports come in from attendees. I wasn't expecting to hear much worth blogging, especially as Sengoku Basara circles won't be exhibiting until Monday this year.

However, people have been talking about a new Kotobukiya flyer which confirms a revival of the Sengoku Basara One Coin Grande figure collection with a special new set: Sengoku Basara ~Eiyuu Shuuketsu-hen~ ('~Gathering of Heroes Edition~'). Reissues of the popular Masamune, Kojuurou, Yukimura, Sasuke, Shingen, Keiji, Motochika, Motonari, Kenshin and Kasuga figures will be joined by Ishida Mitsunari and the older version of Tokugawa Ieyasu for the first time!

No release date has been announced at this time. The twelve figures will be available as a complete set, with remodelling work promised for the returning characters.

Temporary image taken from Captain_Brother
I already have all of the other characters in my collection. Should I buy them all again just to get Mitsunari and Ieyasu? (Yes.)

Source: Twitter users nami051720Captain_Brother

Date Masamune 'Kagehide' sword chopsticks to be rereleased in October

It looks as though there'll also be a rerelease for the 2010 Sengoku Basara chopstick set. The Date Masamune Meitou Kagehidebashi chopsticks will return in October 2013, priced at ¥1,050.

Sengoku Basara series 'official anthology comic' Gakuen Basara 6 due in September

A large number of websites are tentatively listing a new volume of alternate universe high school parody Gakuen Basara 6, scheduled for release in late September 2013 at a price of ¥1,029.

The sixth book in the series claims to contain more characters than ever and hopes to feature work by Nari, Kyuugou, ENU, Yanagi Batoshirou, Arai Karo, Mikami, Maki, Sanorin, Danbo, Koutake Hiroyoshi, Toriumi Mihoko, Yonata and Sanjou Kiiro. I think this is the first time Sanjou Kiiro will have drawn for Gakuen Basara; the collaboration on the Takedagun Chronicle anthology must have been a success!