Saturday 28 June 2014

Streaming: Spring 2014 anime final impressions

The spring anime season has now officially ended for me, so in the interval before the summer shows begin it's time for a quick look back at the last three months of my anime streaming adventures.

A bunch of titles appeared as late additions to this season's list of legal streams long after I made my 'first impressions' post, so I've added my first (and last) impressions of them in this segment. I didn't bother with the shows which suddenly appeared on Animax in June since it was hard to watch them from the beginning without paying for a subscription to Animax's notoriously unreliable service. Still, if they keep on licensing so many titles I might end up having to subscribe next month.

Speaking of the various streaming services, Crunchyroll was the only anime simulcast site I used this season. Wakanim had absolutely no new content, Daisuki didn't fare much better and the aforementioned Animax has yet to convince me they know how to run a service worth paying for.

Here's my final ranking for spring before I look back on them in slightly more detail:

1. Kamigami No Asobi - Ludere Deorum
2. The World Is Still Beautiful (Soredemo Sekai Ha Utsukushii)
3. Mushi-shi Zokushou

Several titles this season were very enjoyable; depending on my mood JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders and Haikyuu!! would easily have had a shot at the top three. The quality of the best shows made the two that I didn't like that much - Dai-Shogun Great Revolution and Captain Earth - seem weaker than they would have done otherwise.

I can't really explain why I chose KamiAso for my favourite. It was the one I looked forward to most every week even though it was usually pretty fluffy. The episode where the guys all dressed up (mostly in drag) to perform a play was easily the most entertaining episode of anime I've seen in a long time.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

News roundup: Sengoku Basara Judge End news - and a PV

NTV's official Sengoku Basara: Judge End website updated this afternoon with new cast information, character designs and the long-awaited promotional video! Unfortunately the video is blocked in my country so I can't embed it here. Alternative links for foreigners in the same position are already up at Dailymotion and Nico Nico Douga.

(Edit: Thank you to Balder over at Koei Warriors for digging up an embeddable version!)

The opening theme song will be Thunderclap by the group Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas. Unless Ishikawa Chiaki's ending theme is very different to her usual style, I'm guessing that it's the opening which plays in the promotional video. I'm not entirely sure I like the song (yet) but the video is fantastic overall!

In addition, Hideyoshi, Hanbee, Yoshitsugu and Tadakatsu also now have character profiles on the official site.

The full list of new cast members is as follows:

Maeda Keiji (Morita Masakazu)
Saika Magoichi (Oohara Sayaka)
Kuroda Kanbee (Koyama Rikiya)
Tsuruhime (Koshimizu Ami)
Uesugi Kenshin (Paku Romi)
Kasuga (Kuwatani Natsuko)
Houjou Ujimasa (Miyazawa Tadashi)
Sakai Tadatsugu (Nishikawa Takanori)

The list says there will be other characters not yet announced; the PV reveals several of them though since Oichi, Oda Nobunaga, Tenkai, Kobayakawa Hideaki, Fuuma Kotarou, Chousokabe Motochika and Mouri Motonari are clearly visible.

The last two even appear in the silhouette lineup at the end, implying they will have major roles.

Sakai Tadatsugu is a new historical figure joining the series for Judge End and his profile describes him as a Tokugawa clan warrior, a retainer to the Tokugawa family and advisor to Ieyasu. He's served the Tokugawa clan since he was a child and, being an old friend to Ieyasu, he's one of the very few people who can address him simply as 'Ieyasu' instead of using an honorific title. Sakai has an unusual kind of rivalry with Tadakatsu and harbours an unspoken dissatisfaction at Tadakatsu being valued more than he is. His motto is "Believe!".

The most interesting aspect of Sakai's character though is the fact that he's being voiced by T.M.Revolution's Nishikawa Takanori. Fans are already noticing similarities between Sakai's design and the outfit Nishikawa wore for HOT LIMIT some time ago, something that Nishikawa himself seems amused by.

There will be a Sengoku Basara: Judge End online radio show

Seiyuu Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) and Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) will be getting together starting on Sunday 13th July 2014 to present a 30-minute Sengoku Basara: Judge End web radio show. It will be broadcast on Bunkahousou's Chou! A&G+ service from 24:30 to 25:00 every Sunday (that's 00:30-01:00 on Monday morning, in normal time notation).

A pair of Mame Sengoku Basara cushion covers will soon be available

Gift have now announced details for online sales of their two Mame Sengoku Basara: Chara x Cushion designs. They're actually cushion covers so you have to insert your own cushion inside, but customers who buy two items will receive a free cushion to get them started.

There will be a blue cushion featuring Masamune and Yukimura (direct shop link) and a yellow design with Mitsunari and Ieyasu (direct shop link). Both cushions cost ¥2,700 with tax.

If you plan to buy one I'd recommend asking your proxy service in advance because they will only be available for reservation from the Gift Online Shop for a very limited time between 18:00 on 4th July and 13:00 on 14th July 2014. They are due to ship in the latter half of September.

Gift also posted details of their collectible Mame Sengoku Basara Cleaner Straps which I don't believe I ever mentioned before. Nine designs are available for ¥300 apiece and each of them comes with an earphone plug.

The straps have been given a limited release in Animate's main Ikebukuro store from 7th June 2014. It's possible that a wider release will follow later on.

Sengoku Basara Magazine issue six will arrive in August

Manga Oh has revealed that the next issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine is due for release on 27th August 2014. Expect preorder listings to begin appearing at other stores very soon!

Date Masamune is to join the Revolmini line of figures

A new Date Masamune figure is set to join Kaiyodo's Revolmini line on 25th September 2014. It will have catalogue number RM-004 and it's priced at ¥3,564. It looks very similar to the full-size Revoltech released in the past; I wonder whether more characters will appear as the new Revolmini line continues to expand?

Figure designer Yamaguchi Katsuhisa has posted a selection of prototype shots of the figure over on his Twitter account: 1, 2, 3, 4

The figure can be preordered at Amazon Japan; more stores are expected to list it soon.

Preorders open for the new Chara-Forme figure of Mitsunari

We finally have the details for Empty's new 10.5cm Ishida Mitsunari Chara-Forme figure. Mitsunari can currently be preordered at Ami Ami, e-Capcom and Amazon Japan and he's set for release on 25th November 2014 for ¥3,150.

It's good timing since e-Capcom is currently celebrating a Toyotomi Matsuri this week. Special bundles of goods are available aimed at fans of Mitsunari and the other members of the Toyotomi forces.

I wonder how much longer we'll have to wait to see the planned Ieyasu model?

Results from the annual Twitter character ranking

Last but not least, the 2014 Sengoku Basara Sousenkyo on Twitter popularity ranking recently closed in Japan with 2,963 participants. The ranking is completely unofficial and the results this year have been a little crazy - see for yourselves. Please note that there's a natural bias in this being a Twitter survey as not everyone who enjoys the series uses Twitter or follows the same groups of people.

1. Mouri Motonari (354)
2. Date Masamune (305)
3. Tokugawa Ieyasu (271)
4. Ishida Mitsunari (237)
5. Chousokabe Motochika (207)
6. Sanada Yukimura (202)
7. Gotou Matabee (150)
8. Sarutobi Sasuke (143)
9. Ootani Yoshitsugu (134)
10. Katakura Kojuurou (128)
11. Tenkai/Akechi Mitsuhide (109)
12. Shima Sakon (107)
13. Shibata Katsuie (87)
14. Kuroda Kanbee (81)
15. Takenaka Hanbee (76)
16. Maeda Keiji (64)
17. Matsunaga Hisahide (40)
18. Fuuma Kotarou (31)
19. Itsuki (26)
20. Tsuruhime (18)
21. Ootomo Sourin (15)
22. Toyotomi Hideyoshi (13)
22. Amago Haruhisa (13)
24. Azai Nagamasa (10)
24. Oichi (10)
24. Ashikaga Yoshiteru (10)
27. Oda Nobunaga (9)
27. Nouhime (9)
27. Mogami Yoshiaki (9)
30. Kasuga (8)
30. Honda Tadakatsu (8)
32. Houjou Ujimasa (7)
32. Utsunomiya Hirotsuna (7)
34. Kobayakawa Hideaki (6)
34. Miyoshi Sanninshuu (6)
34. Yamanaka Shikanosuke (6)
37. Takeda Shingen (5)
37. Saika Magoichi (5)
39. Mori Ranmaru (4)
40. Matsu (3)
40. Imagawa Yoshimoto (3)
40. Tachibana Muneshige (3)
40. Kanetsugu Naoe (3)
40. Ii Naotora (3)
45. Uesugi Kenshin (2)
45. Shimazu Yoshihiro (2)
45. Xavi (2)
45. Honganji Kennyo (2)
45. Nanbu Harumasa (2)
45. Satake Yoshishige (2)
45. Anegakouji Yoritsuna (2)
45. Kyougoku Maria (2)
53. Maeda Toshiie (1)
53. Miyamoto Musashi (1)

Friday 20 June 2014

Manga review: Mame Sengoku Basara volume 5

The fifth volume of Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara ('Bean Sengoku Basara') manga was also its last; after these chapters were serialised the series ended its run in Dengeki Maoh magazine and was replaced by the new Mame Sengoku Basara 4 series.

The final chapters were collected in this book and released on 27th March 2014 by ASCII Media Works. There are nine chapters of the manga spread over 128 pages and priced at ¥780 before tax. Mame Sengoku Basara volume 5 can be purchased from import stores such as Yesasia, Amazon Japan (also on Kindle), CD Japan or Apple's iBooks Store.

I'll summarise the stories one by one, as is traditional.

The first chapter of this book is all about Keiji paying a visit to Tsuruhime. He's surprised to find the oracle isn't feeling too good and soon realises that she's lovesick over Kotarou. Keiji convinces Tsuruhime that the best way to deal with her feelings is to try writing a love letter for the mysterious ninja.

There are a few cute 4-panel comic strips with extra punchlines after this chapter as an added bonus.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Today's acquisitions (18th June 2014)

I was hoping that today's update was going to finally involve some kind of promotional video for the Sengoku Basara: Judge End anime after the debut of the new Capcom TV series on Nico Nico Douga, however they stuck firmly to gaming coverage so it was a bit of a waste of time for people other than Ultra Street Fighter IV or Monster Hunter 4 fans.

Fortunately something cool arrived so I can post about that instead: the Sengoku Basara Complete Box. It only went on sale today in Japan so I have to praise Amazon and DHL for their mind-blowing delivery speed!

Also pictured is the final volume of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn on Blu-ray, which means I managed to get a complete set of matching English editions even though Beez stopped distributing them here. A tip for other UK fans who are having trouble sourcing their Gundam Unicorn: JP Books in London can supply the discs at half the ridiculous price that stores such as Amazon UK are asking. They will post to UK addresses so it's the cheapest way to get hold of the series unless you want to import the significantly nicer Japanese edition.

Two new CDs complete the picture. REASON FOR... is the ending theme to the Kamigami No Asobi anime and The Best Of Magi is exactly what it sounds like. I wonder whether I'll ever get to see the end of Magi? I don't want to pay Aniplex USA's price for their DVD-only sets, and Animax's streaming service has too many delays to be worth paying for.

Anyway, back to the gorgeous Sengoku Basara set for a few extra pictures to convince me that buying the anime again wasn't silly. Back when I placed the order I made up a flimsy excuse about it being a late birthday gift to myself.

The matte chipboard box contains two thick fold-out digipaks covered in beautiful anime-style artwork.

Each 'page' of the digipak holds one disc; there are seventeen in total. It feels luxurious.

There was also a replica autograph board 'signed' by seiyuu Nakai Kazuya and a full-colour replica of the original theatrical pamphlet for Sengoku Basara -The Last Party-.

Perhaps it's time for a rewatch of the previous anime to help pass the time until Sengoku Basara: Judge End?

Friday 13 June 2014

News roundup: June's Sengoku Basara Judge End magazine coverage

There hasn't been much news to report since the anime update earlier this week. The Date Matsuri event has ended over at e-Capcom, and in its place they're now running a Takeda Matsuri instead to highlight products featuring Yukimura, Sasuke and Shingen. There's also going to be a new weekly broadcast called Capcom TV starting next Wednesday at 20:00 (Japan time). It's described as being a live show which features information about all Capcom games, so it wouldn't be unthinkable for them to use it to promote the anime.

Since it's the last opportunity for traditional Sengoku Basara: Judge End coverage before the anime begins airing next month, I splashed out and bought four different anime magazines. All of them were released together on 10th June 2014 so they arrived in a satisfyingly hefty box.

First of all, Animage and Newtype were big disappointments with no exclusive coverage at all - you would have had to look hard to even notice their tiny news bulletins announcing the latest details. It's a good thing they both contained content about other series I like.

Since the more mainstream magazines weren't devoting any serious time to Judge End, I switched my focus to the female-orientated books. Things picked up with PASH! where there was a proper article announcing the six newest additions to the anime's cast (Kojuurou, Sasuke, Shingen, Yoshitsugu, Hideyoshi and Hanbee). The promised fold-out poster was also included. Since they tweeted a picture of it themselves I'm going to assume it's fine to post a small photograph here.

I really like the illustration they used. Since Ieyasu doesn't appear anywhere else in the magazines I took a little picture of him on his own.

The last of the four magazines was Otomedia+ which swapped the blue skies for a rainy scene. A pull-out poster was included at the back of the magazine with a textless version of the same image.

Otomedia+ had the best Sengoku Basara: Judge End article of the lot. There was a long interview with Sengoku Basara series producer Kobayashi Hiroyuki (KobaP). Most of it repeated content we've already heard but there were a few new comments and clarifications which I may as well summarise:
  • The story of Ieyasu and Mitsunari is the main plot this time, but they're also creating a drama with the series' iconic leads Masamune and Yukimura to keep it accessible for casual viewers and fans of the previous anime.
  • The series will primarily focus on the four leads from beginning to end. It will tell the full story from the fall of the Toyotomi to the Battle of Sekigahara.
  • The depiction of the Battle of Sekigahara isn't going to be the same as it was in the movie.
  • They have included content that wasn't in the original Sengoku Basara 3 game. KobaP hopes that the fans will notice the differences!
  • Ieyasu's role is particularly important this time.
  • While there will naturally be drama stemming from the 'azure-crimson' relationship between Masamune and Yukimura and the ex-Toyotomi link between Ieyasu and Mitsunari, the axes formed by Masamune/Mitsunari and Yukimura/Ieyasu will cross somewhere too.
  • In response to a question about which characters people should look out for besides the four main characters, KobaP simply answered that people such as Kojuurou, Hanbee, Sasuke and Shingen from the Date, Takeda and Toyotomi armies would all be appearing. I guess he won't be drawn into revealing anything new until the time is right.
  • Since the story draws closely from Sengoku Basara 3, fans who become interested in what they see in the anime can still go back and enjoy playing the game.
Speculating further on what he says, it sounds as though they might avoid using the Oda storyline (as in Sengoku Basara -The Last Party-) as the climax this time around.

The interview ended with a lighthearted column where KobaP shared his knowledge about how the four leads might spend a rainy day.

Date Masamune: My image is of Masamune looking at the mountains of Oushuu from the passageway (engawa) of his residence as Kojuurou worriedly checks the state of his vegetable garden.

Sanada Yukimura: Since Yukimura-kun isn't the kind of person who can keep still, I get the feeling that he'd be happy to go outside and train his body.

Tokugawa Ieyasu: He would probably be thinking about the Tokugawa army and the whole of Japan, right? Perhaps the image of a figure writing with a brush while sitting in a tatami mat room suits him...

Ishida Mitsunari: If it was back when Hideyoshi was alive, he could train indoors. Or he might stay beside Hideyoshi and Hanbee and listen to their discussions.

Perhaps there will be better coverage in July because it feels as though the series need a lot more promotion! Hopefully there'll be something in Dengeki Maoh and the weekly magazines as the anime's debut approaches.

Monday 9 June 2014

A few Sengoku Basara: Judge End rumours begin to circulate

Tomorrow is the day that the mainstream anime magazines hit the shelves in Japan, which means that eager fans are currently discussing the promised content and poring over rumours from those who managed to get their copies a few hours early.

Here's what I've seen so far (I expect the website to update soon too). None of this has been properly confirmed yet by an official source.
  • Animedia magazine is reporting that the first episode will air on 5th July 2014 on NTV/BS Nittere and additional stations.
  • The timeslot isn't confirmed yet but some people have suggested it will take over the late night slot which is currently used for The World Is Still Beautiful (Soredemo Sekai Ha Utsukushii).
  • More characters are being announced in the magazines. Judging by the seiyuu list at the above link, we can probably expect Katakura Kojuurou (Morikawa Toshiyuki), Sarutobi Sasuke (Koyasu Takehito), Takeda Shingen (Genda Tesshou), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Okiayu Ryoutarou), Takenaka Hanbee (Ishida Akira) and Ootani Yoshitsugu (Tachiki Fumihiko). None of these names should come as a big surprise for the first episode of an anime based on Sengoku Basara 3.
  • I'm guessing Honda Tadakatsu will be revealed in the same batch (of course, he doesn't have a seiyuu credit).
  • There's a completely unsubstantiated rumour that T.M.Revolution might not be performing the opening theme this time. This could be fake so please don’t panic yet.
The English-language website for the series also updated a few days ago, changing the official overseas title from Sengoku Basara -Judgement- to Sengoku Basara -End of Judgement-. I give up; it's easier to keep using the Japanese title until a western licensor formally confirms the finalised English name for the series.

Update 16:10: 

Dengeki Online has posted a news report and the website has now updated too.
  • The first broadcast has been confirmed for NTV on 5th July 2014 at 25:50 (that's 01:50 on the 6th July 2014 for those of us who don't follow broadcast calendar notation). Less than a month to go!
  • The first episode will receive a world premiere at France's Japan Expo at 15:00 on 2nd July 2014.
  • The theme song will be Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ ("North Star ~Polaris~") by Ishikawa Chiaki. She also provided music for the previous anime, the stage play and (of course) for Sengoku Basara 3.
  • Colour artwork of Kojuurou, Sasuke and Shingen is available on the official character page. All of the characters voiced by the listed seiyuu are now confirmed (Hideyoshi, Hanbee and Yoshitsugu).
  • Kenshin is mentioned as Shingen's rival in his introduction, so perhaps we can expect the God of War to make an appearance during the series later on.
Anime Anime and Famitsu have since posted their news reports as well.

Update 14/06/2014: 

I had to post another quick update as it's now been clarified that Ishikawa Chiaki's theme song will be used as the ending for Sengoku Basara: Judge End.

An advertisement for her next album, Watashi No Kokoro Ha Sou Ittenai, has been found and posted on Twitter. The album will be released on 8th October 2014 priced at ¥2,160 with catalogue number DDCZ-1967 and is to contain five tracks "including Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~, the ending theme to the new NTV anime series Sengoku Basara Judge End".

The speculation on whether there will be a song for the opening too can now begin...

Thoughts about Gyakuten Yoshiwara (Forbidden Romance: The Men of Yoshiwara)

I was very surprised to learn that veteran Japanese game company D3 Publisher had recently released an official English (and Chinese) edition for their smartphone visual novel Gyakuten Yoshiwara. The unusual setting caught my eye and it wasn't long before I was downloading the free trial to see what it was like.

The plot of Gyakuten Yoshiwara (since retitled Forbidden Romance: The Men of Yoshiwara) is straightforward; you're a young woman living on an island where there's a huge gender imbalance. The men are so rare that the majority of them live and work in the Yoshiwara pleasure district, selling their nights to lonely girls who are looking for male company or yearning for a child. It's a simple reversal of the many stories of forbidden love between a man and his favourite courtesan which have been staples of the historical fiction genre for years.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Today's acquisitions (7th June 2014)

I've taken delivery of quite a few goodies this week.

At the top of the picture is the huge box containing the Sengoku Basara One Coin Grande Figure Collection ~Eiyuu Shuuketsu-hen~ set. It's much wider than the six earlier boxed sets since it contains twelve figures rather than the usual ten, necessitating a redesign of the box shape.

To its right is Drakengard 3 Collector's Edition from the Square-Enix shop, the western release of the unfortunately-titled Drag-on Dragoon 3. It's the first European release I've bought in ages and of course, there's something wrong with it - the Japanese audio doesn't work at all. From the game's introduction sequence I've determined that the English dub is atrocious so I've abandoned my hopes of trying to play until Square-Enix fixes the problem. It's exasperating since it wasn't cheap; I'll stick with imports in future.

Four Diabolik Lovers audio CDs finish off the haul as well as a generous amount of bonus items. I'd been meaning to pick up the older Diabolik Lovers do-S Kyuuketsu CD: More, Blood Vol. 01 and vol. 02 discs so I added them to another order to save on shipping. They're joined by the new Diabolik Lovers Bloody Songs -Super Best- compilation (with a free A5 clear file, comment card and metal strap) and the Diabolik Lovers do-S Kyuuketsu CD: VERSUS II Vol. 2 Shu VS Reiji (with its free bromide). Here's a close-up of the latter.

Next comes a better picture of the smaller bonus items which came with the Diabolik Lovers Bloody Songs -Super Best- CD. I chose the version which included Laito's metal charm since he's my favourite of the vampires, and the randomly-packed character comment card was the Subaru version. I'd rather have ended up with Laito's card too, but Subaru is still very pretty.

Going back to the Sengoku Basara One Coin Grande Figure Collection ~Eiyuu Shuuketsu-hen~ pack, the main reason for purchasing the set was to get the brand new Ieyasu and Mitsunari figures so I took a picture of them once I'd unpacked everything. They're very nice additions to the range and I hope the rest of the missing Sengoku Basara 3 characters will follow.

The other ten figures in the box were slightly reworked versions of the most popular characters from earlier sets. The differences are very subtle - here's Motochika showing off his improved paintwork which is most noticeable when looking at the pattern on the light pink fabric. The text on each character's name flag is thicker than it used to be as well. The old Motochika is on the left, with the new Eiyuu Shuuketsu-hen version on the right.

Thursday 5 June 2014

News roundup: the Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package is confirmed

Sengoku Basara 4 will be rereleased in Japan as Sengoku Basara 4 Special Package

The mysterious rerelease of Sengoku Basara 4 has now been formally announced. As per the rumours it will come out on 24th July 2014 for ¥4,490 (excluding sales tax) and include the game, all nine of the DLC costumes, the special custom theme given to people who collected all of the costumes and a Sengoku Basara 4 video DVD. In addition, the game will have the option to unlock all characters right from the start (this feature is currently available separately as paid DLC).

There will also be a PSN edition of the pack which includes everything except the bonus DVD for ¥4,157 (excluding sales tax). The box art for the 'special package' version is below.

The Sengoku Basara series will feature in another piano score book

Hot on the heels of the recent Yasashii Piano Solo: Capcom Game Collection ~30th Anniversary~ book comes Yasashii Piano Solo: Sengoku Basara Best Selection, another collection of sheet music to help pianists play classic themes from the history of the series. This 88-page book will be released on 25th June 2014 priced at ¥2,000 before tax, and it will include a character sticker as a bonus.

Details announced for the next Basara Matsuri event DVD

January's Sengoku Basara 4: Basara Matsuri 2014 ~Shinshun No Utage~ event is finally coming to DVD on 9th July 2014 priced at ¥5,000 before tax. The first batch will only be available to customers who order through the Basara Club shop, e-Capcom or Otomart; other stores won't be shipping their copies until 20th August 2014. The pack will include a colour booklet together with a single DVD in a clear case. Disappointingly, the DVD only includes 110 minutes from the evening show and 90 minutes of extras (clips from the afternoon show and backstage footage). Both shows were very similar but it's a shame that the whole afternoon performance will never be available on disc.

e-Capcom updates with new goods for August 2014

Capcom's official online store e-Capcom has added a bunch of new merchandise and declared that this week will be a 'Date Festival' with special pricing on some Sengoku Basara items. There are also four new sets of fantastic new products on the way to tempt fans who already have everything they need.

The first of these takes the form of four new designs for the Sengoku Basara 4 Badge Collection. They'll be priced at ¥450 each when they're released on 28th August 2014, and it's worth noting that they're extra large badges (hence the higher price). Like before, there's a playful theme. Masamune's is a name badge, Kojuurou and Kingo are labelled 'the vegetable enthusiasts', and Shikanosuke's badge has a cautionary sign advising that deer might appear. My favourite is probably the last one where Sasuke, Keiji and Sakon team up to appear as charming as possible - the text is an embarrassingly cheesy chat-up line.

For the stationery collectors out there, four new Sengoku Basara 4 Clear Files are due for release on 28th August 2014 priced at ¥350 each. This time each file will depict two characters: Kojuurou/Sasuke, Nagamasa/Oichi, Hanbee/Hideyoshi and Keiji/Shikanosuke.

Next up is a pair of gorgeous fully-printed t-shirts in a choice of Ieyasu and Mitsunari designs, each priced at ¥7,500 before tax, to celebrate the finale of the Sengoku Basara 3 Bloody Angel manga. The t-shirts will be released in S, M, L and XL sizes in late August 2014. A postcard replica of Itou Ryuu's illustration titled 'Bloodstained Fallen Angel' will be included as a bonus for fans preordering through e-Capcom.

Saving the best until last, a pair of jerseys themed around Motonari and Motochika has been unveiled. Each will cost ¥9,800 before tax when they are released in late November 2014. They're available in S, M, L and XL sizes and expected to sell out quickly. As a bonus, fans who preorder either jersey from e-Capcom will receive a postcard of both characters illustrated by manga artist Itou Ryuu.

I cannot get over how ridiculous that hood looks on the Motonari design. Amazing!

e-Capcom doesn't ship internationally so it may be necessary to use a proxy buying service for some of these products - in particular, the t-shirts and jerseys have been confirmed to be exclusive to the Akita Shoten and Capcom online stores.

Cover artwork is confirmed for some upcoming books

The cover artwork has been revealed for the first volume of Yoshihara Motoki's official Sengoku Basara 4 manga adaptation:

July's Sengoku Basara 4: Ryuuou-Kamewari-hen ('Dragon King/Urn-Splitter Arc') novel has its final cover artwork up as well.

In addition, fans who purchase the final volume of Sengoku Basara 3 Bloody Angel at Animate will receive a comical illustrated pamphlet to go with their purchase.

The Basara Club online shop adds new members-only merchandise

The Basara Club online shop has updated with some other goodies as well as the event DVD - and most of the new items are exclusive to its members. They've added the old merchandise from the defunct Eiyuu No Kai fan club, some leftover items from the Basara Club fan meeting events earlier this year and the 'second season' of exclusive goods such as a two-piece sticker set (¥1,080), a two-piece mini notepad set (¥864), a smooth hand towel (¥1,296) and four IC card decoration stickers available in Yukimura, Ieyasu, Hanbee and Keiji designs (¥540 each).


Whew! That was a lot of new merchandise. I'm expecting even more updates about the anime any moment now too, since Tuesday is when all of the June mainstream anime magazines appear in stores.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Magazine review: Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 5

This season's issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine is a dazzling hot pink to celebrate Chousokabe 'Aniki' Motochika. Just like Mitsunari and Masamune in previous issues, he's received a brand new CG illustration for his role as the cover star. The collectible rubber strap shows a different side of Motochika in his cute Mame Sengoku Basara form.

Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 5 was released on 27th May 2014 priced at ¥2,500. It can be purchased from most Japanese bookstores which offer international shipping, such as Amazon Japan, Yesasia, CD Japan and Manga Oh.

The talk CD this issue is Showgeki Basara Talk! Ieyasu & Mitsunari No Maki Vol. 1 starring seiyuu Ookawa Tooru and Seki Tomokazu. I'm not usually interested in the 'Sekigahara duo' but thanks to their funny seiyuu they're hilarious in this kind of informal discussion. The conversations between the two seiyuu have a natural flow, then when they get into character for their 'Basara Challenge' drama Ieyasu always sounds as though he's provoking Mitsunari on purpose simply by being nice to him. The entire 'Basara Challenge' segment is amazing with members of the Toyotomi army cast as the purple, yellow, white and red warriors in a theoretical 'Sentai Hero' team: Sengoku Sentai Basaranger.

Somehow, hearing Ookawa saying the words 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' in the CD's introduction made the upcoming anime adaptation feel closer than ever.

My rambling summary of the rest of the magazine follows!