Sengoku Basara 2 Burning Soul was a short manga which was originally serialised in Capcom's Basara Style fanbooks. Created by Akutagawa Akira, the complete series of five chapters was compiled into a single 160-page book along with two bonus stories. This was published under the Capcom Comics label on 3rd July 2008, priced at ¥735.
A smaller bunkoban edition (pictured below) was released on 28th January 2010 costing ¥500. This version seems to be out of print now - however, the original edition is still available from import stores such as Yesasia or Amazon Japan.
My copy of the manga is the original edition so this is what my review is based upon.
As the title and cover artwork suggest, Sengoku Basara 2 Burning Soul is one of the rare Sengoku Basara manga which features Sanada Yukimura as the main character. The plot is simple, starting off with one of the usual inconclusive clashes between the Takeda and Uesugi forces. There's an interlude where Keiji pays a visit to Kai and comes face to face with the 'young tiger' in an explosive fight, then the focus shifts back to Kawanakajima once again.
This time, the Oda army shows up to disrupt the long-awaited decisive battle. Both Kenshin and Shingen are injured as a result of Nobunaga's intervention and Yukimura takes it upon himself to confront their attackers at Honnouji.
Sengoku Basara 2 Burning Soul portrays Yukimura as a mighty warrior who has earned Shingen's trust, commanding his own squad on the battlefield and devoting all of his free time to training. His naïveté in other areas is still in evidence, especially when he's talking to Keiji or failing to recognise a disguised Oyakata-sama. The manga incorporates all of the typically hot-blooded Basara charm, best exemplified by the moment Yukimura decides to jump off a galloping horse because running will be faster.
Although I adore Date Masamune, one of the strengths of this book is that the creator doesn't try to appeal to his fans by forcing him into the Takeda-themed story. Masamune, Kojuurou, Hisahide and 'Chou Hyokkoto Kamen' appear in the first of the two bonus stories, while the other is all about Sasuke and Kasuga spying on Ujimasa - and running into Kotarou. The ninja-style combat scenes are fantastic.
Another hallmark of Sengoku Basara 2 Burning Soul is its liberal use of black ink. There's very little subtlety about the thick lines and heavy shading: everything has a rough, masculine feel as the hero hurtles across Japan. Backgrounds are simple - when they're drawn at all. Any available space tends to be filled with speed lines and twirling weapons.
I felt that the structure of the plot played out similarly to one of the paths in the Sengoku Basara games rather than telling a complex story of its own; it's as though you're battling through story mode one stage at a time. The dialogue is often very close to the character interactions shown in Sengoku Basara 2 as well.
Overall, Sengoku Basara 2 Burning Soul is an enjoyable read. It doesn't do much to expand the characters' backgrounds; instead providing an exciting look into Yukimura's world with an intensity not unlike that of Hirano Kouta's Drifters. This manga contains everything I love about the Takeda forces; it's classic Sengoku Basara 2.