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!

The first eight pages of the magazine are all about the new Sengoku Basara: Judge End (Sengoku Basara -Judgement-) anime series. Most of it recaps the news we've already seen and there's a new key visual showing the four leads. Masamune seems to have very bushy hair in the new illustration. I'm getting used to the simpler, more cartoony designs for the new series and looking forward to its debut!

The main purpose of the anime article is to present a brand new interview with Sengoku Basara series director Yamamoto 'YamamotoD' Makoto and producer Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki. Here are the highlights.
  • This series came about simply because KobaP wanted Sengoku Basara 3 to have an anime adaptation. While he was pleased with the original storyline that was created for the previous anime, he wanted to portray the Sekigahara story from the game series too.
  • YamamotoD said that being based on Sengoku Basara 3 doesn't mean that this new series will lack its own original content. It will start out in the same way with defeats for Masamune and Yukimura then gradually turn into its own, original new 'route' towards the end.
  • KobaP said they have combined ideas from a number of different Sengoku Basara 3 routes with original content to create this new scenario.
  • While Mitsunari's grudge against Ieyasu is serious, there will be an increasing amount of lighter, humorous content in the series too. There are interesting characters in the roster who haven't been announced yet.
  • YamamotoD wants to bring out more of Ieyasu's good qualities in the series as a whole - he believes that he's the hardest to understand out of the four lead characters. After being able to show his true intentions in Sengoku Basara 4, they think that going back and retelling the story of Sengoku Basara 3 again will give people a sense of how Ieyasu was feeling.
  • It was hinted that we could see anime-original characters if they fit with the story. YamamotoD remarked that it was a surprise that veteran seiyuu Furuya Tooru was chosen to voice the original character Oyamada Nobushige in the previous anime. They're incorporating content for the fans this time as well - he teased that there are still a lot of things he can't talk about.
  • KobaP explained that the awkward English in the title 'Judge End' is a Sengoku Basara-style phrase of the type Date Masamune might use, saying that it was chosen for its 'feel' rather than its literal meaning. The meaning refers to the 'final judgement' of Sekigahara.
  • The two of them explained that they had a great deal of input in the creative process and have been contributing corrections and content; however, the new team at Telecom Animation Film have been coming up with lots of fresh ideas as well.
  • Staff member Takahashi Natsuko also worked on the script for the Sengoku Basara -Moonlight Party- television drama and really likes the Sengoku Basara series. She's so passionate about it that there's no need for them to explain the details to her.
  • In contrast, it's the first time for director Sano Takashi and he's learning as he works on the show. KobaP and YamamotoD feel that having these two complete opposites on the team provides a sense of balance. They don't want to alienate new viewers by making a show which only the hardcore fans will appreciate.
  • Even though it's based on Sengoku Basara 3 they deliberately didn't use the '3' as part of the title this time to avoid giving newcomers the impression that it was a bad place to start. They're aware of the power that an anime television adaptation has and want people who have no experience with the series to feel comfortable giving it a try.
There are also comments from three members of the production team. I'll try to reproduce them in more detail since they're shorter.

"The Sengoku Basara: Judge End television series was based upon Sengoku Basara 3, a game with many attractive features such as diverse characters, satisfying special moves and a historical setting. Although the full-scale production of the anime adaptation has only just begun, I'm trying my hardest every day to carefully focus on what 'bonds' are and avoid spoiling the charm of Sengoku Basara 3.

I still personally think that titles which keep you wondering what on earth will happen next are interesting. It's boring when you can guess what will happen, right (*laughs*)? Although I think that the fans will be looking out for the big twist right at the end, I'd like people to keep watching right up until the final episode. A variety of scenes have been incorporated and I think that everyone will be surprised for sure (*laughs*). Please look forward to it." (Sano Takashi, director)

"I think the greatest charm of the Sengoku Basara series is the drama woven by its extremely distinctive characters. With Sengoku Basara 3 in particular, the series' signature rivalry between Masamune and Yukimura is joined by a new rivalry between Ieyasu and Mitsunari. All of the characters' emotions become intertwined; it's really incredible! The team is working at full throttle right now so that we can represent the unique hallmarks of 'Sengoku Basara' with this project, and I am in discussion with the director and the production team at Capcom on a daily basis too. Each route in the original game, how the emotions connect and intertwine - we hope that people enjoy this special Sekigahara, as yet unseen in Sengoku Basara.

Incidentally, 'Judge End' is a phrase that has been coined for this project. The correct way to say it in English would be 'Judgement'. As the series goes on, how will the charming warriors - and their opponents - be judged? Please look forward to seeing how it will end." (Takahashi Natsuko, series composition)

"There are so many characters in the main Sengoku Basara series that analysing their features is both challenging and fun. We're working to make a series that can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Although there's a different setting and a different production team this time around - and the strengths and weaknesses will probably be different too - we've inherited the desire to create the most entertaining project of all. Thank you for your time." (Chiba Michinori, character design)

--

With the anime coverage over for the time being, the magazine shifts its focus back to Sengoku Basara 4 via a detailed article about the key encounters between various characters. Most of the scenes are from the game's Drama Routes so there are a lot of spoilers. With the stories still quite fresh in my mind I'm not sure that this article is all that useful right now...

It's followed up by a two-page 'fifth weapon catalogue' listing the joke weapons for all 32 playable characters. Each weapon is explained in a comical way and there are so many complicated puns that translating the article to English would be quite tough. From the writer wondering whether it was Nene or Hanbee who made Hideyoshi's mittens to musing about Katsuie submitting his artwork to the magazine, it's entertaining to read.

Next come two lengthy interviews. The first has seiyuu Nakamura Yuuichi answering a multitude of questions all about Shima Sakon's 'charm'. He observes that there are other characters with airy personalities in the series but Sakon is unique; he's not easygoing like Sasuke or cheerful like Keiji, the character Nakamura thinks he resembles most closely. Sakon's flippant nature is a little different.

Nakamura's favourite thing about Sakon is that he's prepared to risk his life for the sake of others. In future he'd like him to clash more with Yukimura and Kenshin. He also joked that he was interested in seeing Sakon flirting playfully with the female warriors.

--

The magazine's Chousokabe Motochika coverage then finally begins with a long joint interview with seiyuu Ishino Ryuuzou and stage play actor Yagami Ren, who is the third actor to portray Motochika in the Butai Sengoku Basara series. I don't really know Yagami since the play he stars in isn't on DVD yet, but Ishino is as lovely as ever and the conversation has a very relaxed atmosphere. One of the highlights was Ishino explaining how he wasn't all that familiar with Motochika back when he first got the role nine years ago. He recalls the shock back when there was a character popularity poll for the first Sengoku Basara game and Aniki came in third place right behind Masamune and Yukimura - he wasn't even playable back then!

All of the Motochika love leads nicely into the next article, the 'Motochika Chronicle'. Series director YamamotoD walks the reader through an illustrated history of Sengoku Basara with his own comments.
  • He'd wanted Motochika to be a playable character back in the first Sengoku Basara game but they didn't have the manpower. He was amazed at how popular he became in spite of being unplayable.
  • Though they've settled on Motochika's pirate image nowadays, they were nervous about going through with it at first.
  • YamamotoD finds it easy to write stories about Motochika since he had so many historical connections. He likes giving him chances to battle Masamune and Hideyoshi (and of course, his rival Motonari).
  • He picked Ieyasu as Motochika's partner in Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (Heroes) because of his indifferent, open attitude. He thought they'd be quite compatible. Even though he hadn't planned it back then, their friendship would continue to influence events in Sengoku Basara 3 and Sengoku Basara 4.
  • It was during the time of Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes that YamamotoD started to feel that Motochika resembled Masamune in some ways. This game also firmed up a few important aspects of his character, such as the way he values his men and sailing more than treasure.
  • Sengoku Basara 3 built upon the idea of Motochika's bond with his men by showing how upset he was when his subordinates were killed. They had to explain why Motochika sided with the Western Army historically instead of with his (in-game) friend Ieyasu.
  • There weren't many opportunities for Motochika to interact with the new characters in Sengoku Basara 4. YamamotoD would like him to cross paths with Sakon or Katsuie in future, or perhaps with Maria. A story about Motochika and Maria together would probably end up with them battling over treasure.
  • With the anime, they thought it might be interesting to show Motochika acting like a bandit rather than a pirate after his loss to Hideyoshi (in Japanese, a bandit is literally a 'mountain thief' while a pirate is a 'sea thief', so the comparison is clearer).
  • YamamotoD doesn't think that Motochika and Motonari will ever reconcile. They'd be cautious around one another even if they were working together.
After an introduction to all of his mechanical inventions over the years, the Motochika content is briefly interrupted by a single-page summary of the official Sengoku Basara 'fan meeting' events which took place earlier this year before wrapping up with the usual gorgeous tribute illustrations. Gun Zi has drawn a battle scene depicting Motochika catching Mitsunari's sword in his teeth as Akatsukimaru looms behind him. Yokota Mamoru's picture includes Akatsukimaru too; Motochika stares confidently out at the viewer with both the machine and Date Masamune standing at his back.

A merchandise round-up comes next, leading straight into the fan art gallery and reader survey results.

--

I've come to the realisation that these results are just for fun and not a meaningful gauge of popularity because the character who was on the cover of the previous issue has a huge advantage! Since each survey entry card is bundled with a themed issue of the magazine, the fans of that particular character will make up most of the readers and the survey entrants (especially since the rewards for participation tend to include prizes which match the theme).

So this time it's Mitsunari's turn to dominate the results and he's done an amazing job. Several other members of the Toyotomi army perform very well too.

Favourite character from Sengoku Basara 4:

1. Ishida Mitsunari
2. Date Masamune
3. Shima Sakon
4. Sanada Yukimura
5. Sarutobi Sasuke

It's worth mentioning that the two Takeda warriors ranked very high in this one ranking alone. Perhaps the Toyotomi fans were voting strategically to dislodge Masamune from first place and as a result the other characters they like dropped down, while the Yukimura and Sasuke fans stuck firmly to their favourites? It's a shame that the editor didn't share any trends or figures this time.

Favourite story from Sengoku Basara 4:

1. Shima Sakon
2. Ishida Mitsunari
3. Takenaka Hanbee
4. Date Masamune
5. Ootani Yoshitsugu

Sakon's series debut certainly appears to have gone well. A certain character features heavily in these stories, a trend which continues in the next list.

Favourite line of dialogue in Sengoku Basara 4 (potential spoilers!):

1. "My friend is right here...it's definitely not you!" (Ishida Mitsunari)
2. "Didn't you consider that you could also have accomplished that - if I had been with you?" (Ishida Mitsunari)
3. "You are wrong. There's not a single person in this world who doesn't dream of the future." (Date Masamune)
4. "Welcome back, Mitsunari-sama." (Shima Sakon)
5. "Ieyasu, live on within me. As my lifelong friend..." (Ishida Mitsunari)

Three out of the top five lines are Mitsunari's and only one of them isn't directly related to him. It seems that fans find the most heartbreaking lines especially memorable.

Favourite combinations in Sengoku Basara 4:

1. Ishida Mitsunari & Shima Sakon
2. Ishida Mitsunari & Tokugawa Ieyasu
3. Ishida Mitsunari & Ootani Yoshitsugu
4. Date Masamune & Katakura Kojuurou
5. Sanada Yukimura & Sarutobi Sasuke

The next issue will include rankings for the readers' favourite Sengoku Basara 4 joke weapons and the characters whose routes include the funniest scenes. The staff also want to know which combinations of seiyuu the fans would like to see appearing on future Showgeki Basara Talk! CDs. I'm guessing that they have a talk show with Motochika and Motonari planned for issues 7 and 8 but after that they're letting popularity guide them. I think I'll nominate either Keiji/Hideyoshi or Nagamasa/Oichi.

--

The fifth issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine wraps up with some ads and three chapters of serialised manga. First comes the second part of Yoshihara Motoki's dramatic Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen prequel series, then Tane Jugou presents the longest chapter of Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara yet. The new Sengoku Basara 4 characters take centre stage in their fluffy animal forms while Motochika stars in the 4-panel bonus strips at the end. Finally, Sumeragi's wonderful Mame Sengoku Basara 4 (Shucchouban) story retells Shima Sakon's backstory in a cuter way. All three stories were so good that it would be difficult to say which of them was my favourite!

The last two columns are placed between the manga chapters. KobaP's Kobayashi HiroyukiP No Kyou Mo Basara Na Hi diary describes the whirlwind of the game's release and all of the events that he went to in order to promote it. With the recent stage play and the new anime, he feels as though Ieyasu is getting a lot of (well-deserved) exposure this year.

The second column is YamamotoD's in-depth explanation of the real history behind the Sengoku Basara version of Saika Magoichi.
  • The introduction notes that Magoichi is the first female to feature in this column and the highest ranked girl in the last official poll (BSR48). YamamotoD explains that while he often thinks everyone loves the female characters, Magoichi is popular with both male and female fans. Oichi and Kasuga are both popular too, but Magoichi fills the role of the 'older sister'.
  • He then went off-topic to say that there were a lot of people hoping that Kasuga would be made playable once again. She's very popular amongst male fans.
  • Back when they were first coming up with the character concepts for Sengoku Basara 3, they decided that they wanted to include a member of the Saikashuu. The main reason was that they were really cool; an unaffiliated group of armed mercenaries that gave both Nobunaga and Hideyoshi trouble.
  • YamamotoD also likes the mysterious way that the 'Saika Magoichi' name was passed down to each successive head of the group to conceal their true identities.
  • That's also why the Sengoku Basara version is female, of course. They'd wanted to include more female warriors in the third game. Since the name Saika Magoichi was an inherited title, they saw no problem with the leader being a woman.
  • After making that decision YamamotoD looked into the story of 'Sayaka' and decided to use it as Magoichi's original name. At the time of Hideyoshi's two invasions of Korea, a Saikashuu commander was said to have betrayed the Toyotomi army in order to protect the people of Joseon. That commander's name was 'Sayaka' (written in kanji) and the legend is still remembered today in the Korean Peninsula. There's also a theory that 'Sayaka' was a mispronunciation of 'Saika'.
  • Magoichi's story often intertwines with Keiji's but that isn't related to any historical events. They simply wanted to have someone who would be able to speak frankly to Keiji; a companion who was able to address him firmly - yet calmly - in spite of the bravado he shows around the opposite sex.
  • The feelings that Keiji has for Magoichi probably won't continue to develop further. The emotional distance between them is likely to stay the same.
  • The Saikashuu have a lot of connections to other characters even though they're a group of mercenaries.
  • There's a real-life theory that the Date family took in a former Saikashuu member: the highly ranked Date vassal Suzuki Motonobu was rumoured to be a relative of the third Saika Magoichi. Motonobu was famous for secretly developing laws for a 'Date Shogunate' ready for the day that Date Masamune would seize control of the country.
  • Magoichi's ties to several other characters are also based on actual history. The Saikashuu were allied with the Chousokabe family and enemies of the Oda clan. The confrontation with Fuuma at the start of Sengoku Basara 3 is because they really participated in the fighting at Odawara.
  • The reason that Ieyasu understands the value of the Saikashuu is because of the trouble he had when the Ikkou-Ikki were active in Mikawa.
  • YamamotoD thinks that the real-life Saikashuu had their own distinctive culture and took pride in their group battle tactics.
  • In the game some of the Saikashuu members have odd names like Suzume ('sparrow') and Hotaru ('firefly'). These are a references to feats like being able to shoot a sparrow down as it flies.
  • The way that Magoichi throws her gun away after firing is inspired by a story about one of the tactics the real Saikashuu group used. They would assign specialised roles to their members; one would fire the gun while another was in charge of loading it.
  • YamamotoD said that he admires Magoichi!
The next issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine will be released this summer and be themed around Mouri Motonari. There will be a feature on Sengoku Basara: Judge End and a photo report from the Butai Sengoku Basara 3: Togakuruwashi Kizuna stage play. The manga serialisations will be Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 4 (Shucchouban), Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen and Tane Jugou's Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara. Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) and Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) will return for the Showgeki Basara Talk! Ieyasu & Mitsunari No Maki Vol. 2 CD.

Dengeki-ya has promised that there will soon be some special new merchandise based on the new CG artwork for Mitsunari and Motochika. I hope that this means that Motonari is going to receive a new rendered picture too for the cover - and that they'll go back and release special illustrations for everyone else, especially Yukimura and Ieyasu who missed their turns during the build-up to Sengoku Basara 4.

Some Twitter users have shared small pictures from the magazine (1, 2, 3) and fan Team Benevolence posted a few snapshots of the anime article too. There are also official preview pictures in this Dengeki Online article.

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for the summary! Aww, Aniki... it's been a long time! I really wish he had more "screentime" with characters other than Motonari (not that I don't love the two of them together :D). He's such a likeable guy. I kind of want a storyline where he teams up with Keiji and Ieyasu...

    As for Nakamura's comments about Sakon, heh, even he thinks that Sakon resembles Keiji a lot. I still haven't played 4, but from everything I've seen or heard, I still can't shake my initial impression that Sakon is Keiji and Yukimura's love child.

    I'm not even going to comment on the polls, other than I'm sad that Red&Blue aren't even on the "favorite combo" list. I realize it's for SB4 but at this rate my favorite "pair" is pretty much done for. :/ (Along with my slight hopes of a storyline where Yukimura interacts more with Kojuurou. Even though they would be so much fun to watch.)

    (sorry for any typos, I'm typing with two fingers bandaged together...)

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    1. Thank you for the comment! With the launch of 4 out of the way this issue seemed to look back at the rest of the series more than before, which was a pleasant change.

      I didn't mention it properly in the review but I think one thing which helped boost this issue's Red/Blue quotient was the Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen manga chapter. It was amazing, and the main story barely contained any Date soldiers or Kojuurou at all this time. It felt more like the first few episodes of the anime! Overall though we're definitely in the midst of a Toyotomi revival ^^;

      I must confess here that Sakon has won me over. He's not too bright - but not in a pure, cute way like Yukimura - and the way that Mitsunari keeps curtly telling him to shut up or calm down somehow makes both of them more entertaining at once. Keiji is the big-hearted guy who always tries his best to make things right, Yukimura is the brave, loyal hero who gets swept away a little too easily at times, and Sakon is the audacious but well-intentioned fool who tends to stir up trouble every time he meets someone.

      I've somehow ended up liking all of the new characters just as much as the old ones ヽ(;´д`)ノ

      Unexpectedly though, Katsuie is my most-played newcomer so far if Hideyoshi (?!) doesn't count. Even though one of my older relatives refuses to believe me when I tell him that Katsuie is a guy (his second costume is apparently 'confusingly pretty') ^^;

      I hope that your hand is better soon!

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    2. Oh, thanks for the info about the manga chapter! I'm sure that the Toyotomi revival is mostly a consequence of Mitsunari's promotion to poster boy, I mean it's pretty much inevitable if they want him to do more than being out for revenge. I don't necessarily mind (aside of not being a fan of Mitsunari - SB4 aside, my favorite new characters in 3 were Sourin and Kanbee which pretty much shows what kind of tone I prefer in SB, which Mitsunari doesn't really bring most of the time...), but as a Yukimura/Takeda fan, I can't help being bitter at the, ah, side effects. ^^;; Oh well, hopefully it really is just a phase.

      (I'd probably warm up to Sakon more if I were to play him, though - it really doesn't hurt that Nakamura Yuuichi is one of my favorite seiyuu and I would enjoy listening to him reading his grocery list.)

      I do wonder if Ieyasu will ever get a revival, though. He pretty much "won" the whole thing, historically, so it's funny that the Toyotomi so completely overshadow him in SB. ^^;;

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    3. Depending on how Ieyasu is portrayed in this new anime I think he could attract some new fans this year. My favourite Ieyasu is the stage play version for some reason - probably because his fighting style works so well in that setting and he keeps getting to be in the spotlight in the various Butai Sengoku Basara 3 spin-offs - but having no bonds within his own army other than that with Tadakatsu makes it harder to get excited about him. If he had his subordinates scrambling to follow him as much as Hideyoshi's do then Ieyasu would seem more like a leader in his own right (it's still hard to shake off the remnants of the 'Takechiyo' image).

      Mitsunari's stories in 4 are probably some of the best of the lot since they have the whole Toyotomi 'family' getting involved, often in unexpected ways, and he shows up as a commander in the Toyotomi army too in other routes. However much I loved the hints from the Date army's past and the craziness of some of the other scenarios, because the Toyotomi storylines (including Ieyasu's) intertwine so strongly it almost feels as though they're the main characters this time, whereas Masamune's stories are focused on him and one or two other people which is automatically less exciting. I'm greedy and like seeing as many of the series' wonderful characters interacting as possible wherever possible.

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    4. Re: Ieyasu, I think it's just a question of effort on the writers' side. This time Mitsunari got all those Toyotomi characters back and he even got a new main "sidekick," Sakon, to interact with. They could just as well give Ieyasu some new followers (*cough*Sanada Nobuyuki*cough* or hell, even his wife Komatsu, just imagine Tadakatsu introducing his daughter... :D) and create new bonds for him. But I suppose that all depends on whether he gains new fans or not.

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    5. Tadakatsu is probably the only one who could get away with suddenly producing a daughter without it shocking half the fans (and characters). Though it might break Naotora's heart ^^;

      I have a completely unfounded theory that they deliberately try not to add more than one character from the same family where possible (the Maeda clan are a big exception ^^;) for marketing reasons, to keep each one relatively distinct in name and background and cover as much ground as possible. Nobuyuki would be really cool though, and it would be a great time to do it for a multitude of reasons, even if it would antagonise those who see Sengoku Musou and Sengoku Basara as bitter rivals.

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    6. I'd love to see Komatsu just to see what kind of daughter they would create for Tadakatsu (of all people). ^^;; But yes, I can imagine the reactions if some other character suddenly introduced an offspring (never mind a WIFE *gasp* or a husband, I suppose). Although I'd pay to see a Basara rendition of, say, the story behind Masamune's daughter Iroha, or Yukimura's children in the Katakura family... :D (I'd envision them as a bunch of tiny Yukimuras, with poor Kojuurou trying to keep them in line)

      I'd also pay to see a Basara x Musou crossover. Just imagine the characters' reactions to their "other" selves... (Poor Musou!Kanetsugu trying to deal with Basara!Mitsunari...)

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    7. Yes, even if it was just for a tourism tie-in somewhere, it would be fantastic to see the characters from the Sengoku Musou universe collide with their Sengoku Basara counterparts. I'd like see what Musou!Kanbee and Basara!Hanbee made of their alternate selves :3

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  2. Wow maybe your speculation about Toyotomi fans joined up voting Mitsu to dislodge Masamune might be true... I laughed so hard at that OMG TOYOTOMI FANS LOOOOLLL A HUGE RESPECT FROM ME!

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    1. Hahaha, I hope the rest of the fans can rally and give the Toyotomi army a tough fight in the next official poll. I want it to be a close battle, no matter who wins!

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    2. As one of the voter to the BasaraMagazine here, I feel I was a bit offended ...

      I voted Mitsunari because I like him and that's it. Not because I want him to win over Masamune or other conspiracy reasons. Ok well, I know that Masamune fan are somehow frustrated that Mitsun just keep shacking his ivory throne, but please... no need to nagging at us. >_>

      /momotsu

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    3. Sorry momotsu! I didn't mean that all of the Mitsunari voters planned it so much as many of the potential Sakon/Yoshitsugu/Hanbee voters might have chosen Mitsunari instead for that particular question since he had a much higher chance of winning. When it's an all-out popularity contest the people with more than one favourite often choose the one who will have the best shot at winning to give them a boost (I think that Kojuurou fans do this with Masamune too, and Maeda fans might choose Keiji rather than Toshiie etc - I'm quite surprised that both Yukimura and Sasuke ranked so well in that list though. The Sasuke fans have been quieter lately).

      It's fair to say that Mitsunari's popularity really is very high in general right now. He isn't come first or second in all of the recent polls by accident; people are supporting him :)

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    4. Some might do like you say, but I don't think it is so many indeed. If you ask me, due to whatever reason, I would not cast my vote if that choice was not my actual favorite one. People mostly just votes what they seem appreciated most.

      Sorry for keep replying about this matter, but as Mitsunari and Toyotomi fan, that "Toyotomi army! Let's vote Mitsunari to overthrow Masamune !" is just pissed me off. It just amuses me to see the attempt to come up with the reason that Mitsunari did so well in recent poll, but cannot get over a simple reality that he is really favorite and beloved by a large number of fan. (. _ .)

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    5. I'm not disputing that Mitsunari is rightfully the most popular character at the moment - he even topped the poll with non-Japanese fans, and many of them don't know him all that well since he's had fewer appearances outside Japan. It's an indisputable fact that he's soaring right at the top of the popularity rankings now and I think it's very likely he'd win a second proper BSR48 poll if they ever get around to running another one.

      It's just my opinion but I think the bonds between fans of the 'subordinate' characters are quite unusual, and I don't think it would be that strange for some (not all) of those fans to support a character with a close tie to their favourite. For me, my personal favourite character is Kojuurou so I'm often rooting for Masamune. And I adore Hanbee (Ishida Akira is easily my favourite voice actor ever) so I also ended up loving Hideyoshi. Perhaps it's just me but once I start liking one character from a faction I end up loving all of the others too ^_^;

      Some people might want to vote for the person their favourite character would want to support (I would actually feel weird if Kojuurou ever beat Masamune in a popularity ranking because I see him as such a 'support character') or some might assume that voting for a more popular character will help them too when that faction gets better storylines and more exposure.

      I also want to say that it's not an anti-Mitsunari thing - the bias in the magazine polls affects Masamune, Yukimura and Ieyasu as well.

      Issue 2: Masamune sweeps all of the rankings - most popular (right in front of Kojuurou?!), the top four best lines, four of the top five best scenes etc. Masamune was on the front cover of the previous issue.
      Issue 3: Yukimura's scenes account for four of the five funniest scenes in the series and Sasuke is the most wanted addition for Sengoku Basara 4. Yukimura was on the front cover of the previous issue.
      Issue 4: Ieyasu suddenly starts popping up in all of the rankings despite barely appearing in the lists previously. Ieyasu was on the front cover of the previous issue.

      Mitsunari definitely wasn't the fourth most popular character in the series a year ago; he was probably in first or second place. He was probably ranked so low in that second magazine because of the Masamune bias in that poll. I don't think the magazine's bias is a bad thing since it actually gives interesting snapshots of each group of fan's strongest preferences, but I wanted to call it out when I noticed the effect because otherwise the results can be misleading.

      I also think that part of the problem is that the questions have often been of the type where the respondents will naturally want to support their favourite characters or be tempted to vote strategically. The questions in issue six are more unusual - favourite joke weapon and favourite comedy scene in 4. Aniki might pop up in the rankings more than he did before but I hope that the often-overlooked characters might also have a chance to pick up some votes in those categories; some relatively unpopular characters have amazing joke weapons, after all.

      I wrote a lot (as always) somehow. I'm really sorry that I upset you m(__)m

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  3. At first I wasn't a fan of Sakon AT ALL. But he just grew on me so quickly. His interactions with Mitsunari are practically that of a big and little brother. I'm not surprised that they're a favourite pairing - their chemistry is great.

    Also happy to hear that Keiji won't be getting loved-up over Mags anytime soon. The way they act together in Magoichi's drama route is just the way I like it.

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    1. Now that I think about it actually, I think a big part of Mitsunari's popularity boost in SB4 was the induction of Sakon and the rest of the Toyotomi into the ranks. With Sakon and Gyobu pretty much being there to show Mitsunari as a good leader while Hideyoshi and Hanbei are there to show Mitsunari's motivated side, he's turned out as a pretty damn good character.

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    2. Good observation; I think Mitsunari has always been popular but 4 really helped bring out more of his potential in the main story thanks to the big Toyotomi revival. He's a lot more sympathetic now we've seen more sides of him (in 3 I often swung between feeling sorry for him and wanting to slap some sense into him, but I feel he's become more interesting). The stories in other media and in 4 have made him seem more well-rounded.

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