Saturday, 2 August 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 5

This week's episode of Sengoku Basara Judge End was the fifth - we're almost halfway through the series already!

How to watch

Now that the official simulcasts are beginning it's been confirmed that the alternate title Sengoku Basara -End of Judgement- is being used outside Japan. I'll keep using Judge End for consistency but they're the exact same show.

These are the official ways to watch Sengoku Basara Judge End at the moment:

Television (Japan only)
This week's initial television broadcast on NTV was at 01:55 on Sunday morning (Japan time). The YTV and BS Nittere broadcasts are shown over a week late.

NTV On Demand (Japan only)
This is a premium service. Fans can pay ¥900 to watch the whole series or ¥300 to see an individual episode. The first episode is free and the previous week's episode is shown for free on Fridays and Saturdays. The series airs slightly earlier than the television broadcast at 24:00 local time.

Hulu (Japan only)
Fans who pay Hulu's ¥933 monthly fee can watch the episodes slightly ahead of the broadcast time.

The following Japanese streaming services will also be streaming Judge End; if you can't wait then it might be worth checking them to see whether any work in your region. I imagine they'll make the episodes available shortly after the television broadcast and some will be showing it for free.

AcTVila, Bandai Channel, Best Hit Anime Douga, d Anime Store, DMM.com, Google Play, GyaO Store, Happy Douga Anime, Hikari TV, JCOM On Demand, Movie Full+, Nico Nico Official Channel, Rakuten Showtime, Tsutaya TV, TV Dogatch, U-NEXT, Video Market

FUNimation (US only)
The episodes are streamed weekly on Saturdays at 14:20 Eastern Time with English subtitles. They've added the first three episodes already with the next two scheduled for today. From episode five onwards, subscribers will be able to watch the latest episode on the same day it's available in Japan while free users have to wait a week. FUNimation also have the home video rights, so if the stream is popular the series should eventually be dubbed into English.

Anime Digital Network (France only)
ADN are offering the series online with French subtitles. So far, the first three episodes are available. They charge a monthly fee for the service.

J-ONE (France only)
A French-subtitled broadcast will take place on J-ONE - Canalsat (50) and Numericable (38).

Viewster (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway only)
The show's broadcast was announced as being 'day and date with Japan' so I'm guessing they'll appear every Saturday afternoon once the service has been set up. So far, three episodes are online with English subtitles. Viewster is a free ad-supported service.

Like many fans around the world I live in a country which has been excluded from the licensed simulcasts so far (thanks, anime industry!). In spite of this treatment I feel very strongly about supporting the official western version when it's available rather than resorting to piracy. The Japanese distributors will use the official viewing figures to see how successful the show has been while the US anime distributors like FUNimation use them to decide whether to give new titles home video releases, whether to dub them and whether to go the extra mile and produce a high quality premium release. If we want Sengoku Basara Judge End to receive a decent western release and raise awareness of the series, we need to make sure people are watching the official streams if possible. Please get your friends to watch it too if you can so that the industry can see that there's an audience out there. It might help to visit the official streaming sites and leave supportive comments there too, even if you live in a country where the video itself is blocked and you had to watch it some other way.

I'd rather not say how I'm watching the Japanese streams but it's not that difficult to find a method with some searching.

Important reminder

Sengoku Basara: Judge End is not a continuation of the previous anime adaptation. It's a brand new story and none of the events in Production I.G.'s version of Sengoku Basara have taken place in its timeline. Please don't get confused trying to match the old story to the new one; this anime is a complete reboot of the entire Sengoku Basara scenario. The story takes place after the fall of Oda Nobunaga.

Summary

The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first five episodes of Sengoku Basara: Judge End and some low quality screenshots. Please note that I'm watching the show in Japanese and using my preferred spellings for character names; they won't necessary match the localised spellings if you're watching one of the subtitled versions!

The story so far

Prior to the events in Judge End, the warlord Oda Nobunaga was betrayed and killed at Honnouji by his retainer, Akechi Mitsuhide. Mitsuhide was subsequently defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who went on to lead his powerful army across the land.

In the first episode of the series we saw the Toyotomi army launching a major attack on Odawara Castle, home to the Houjou clan. The Date army tried to interfere with the battle and were brutally defeated by Ishida Mitsunari, a loyal warrior renowned as 'Toyotomi's Left Arm'.

Despite their overwhelming strength, the Toyotomi attack was cut short when Tokugawa Ieyasu rebelled against Hideyoshi's methods and killed him in combat. Hideyoshi's loyal strategist Takenaka Hanbee died at Odawara too, leaving Mitsunari behind to curse Ieyasu's name and swear revenge against his former ally.

In the aftermath of the battle the defeated Date army returned to its territory of Oushuu, being spared by the 'God of War' Uesugi Kenshin along the way. Over in Kai, Shimazu Yoshihiro joined forces with the Takeda army to fend off a show of strength by Ieyasu; however, the fighting ended in tragedy when Takeda Shingen suddenly collapsed in his camp. As the Takeda forces withdrew, the bewildered Tokugawa troops were attacked by someone long presumed dead: Oda Nobunaga's sister, Oichi.

Elsewhere, Chousokabe Motochika was horrified to discover that his land had been attacked by his old friend, Ieyasu, while he was out at sea. Motochika was overwhelmed with fury at the betrayal as he saw Ieyasu's flag and spear amongst the debris.

With the leadership of the Toyotomi army having been passed down to Mitsunari, it looked as though the whole country would be bathed in the fires of war once again. Ieyasu travelled around the country trying to forge alliances for his 'eastern army' while his old friend Motochika allied himself with the 'western army', the remnants of the Toyotomi. Meanwhile, the Saika mercenaries refused to take sides and joined forces with Maeda Keiji to find out whether Ieyasu really abducted Keiji's aunt, Matsu, as rumours suggested.

At that time, Matsu was actually being held at a castle belonging to Kobayakawa Hideaki, a cowardly young lord loyal to Mitsunari. The abduction was apparently arranged by Tenkai, the mysterious monk who advises Hideaki. So far, Yoshitsugu and Motonari of the western army were apparently the only two people who had been made aware of the secret.

Just as Yukimura has decided to side with the western army in the upcoming war, Masamune arrived at Ueda Castle and attacked Mitsunari. Yukimura rushed to defend his ally, causing him to cross weapons with his old rival once again.

How many more people will end up being pulled into the growing conflict between Ieyasu and Mitsunari?

Episode 5: Haiboku ('Defeat')

Continuing straight on from last week's cliffhanger, the episode opens with a brutal fight between Masamune and Yukimura.


Even after being disarmed, the two continue fighting with their fists.


Masamune plainly wants to ignore Yukimura and lunge towards Mitsunari, but Yukimura won't let him past. After a while, Mitsunari leaves.


Since Yukimura is still blocking his path, Masamune decides to kill him.


Masamune's wounds from his fight with Mitsunari begin to open due to the intensity of the battle.


Both Sasuke and Kojuurou realise that they will have to intervene to stop the two rivals destroying themselves.


Sasuke rushes to protect Yukimura.


At the same time, Kojuurou risks his life, grabbing Masamune's weapon to stop him and bring him to his senses.


After the battle is over, Yukimura passes out and the Date army leaves Ueda Castle.


Kojuurou once again urges Masamune to reconsider his reckless revenge plan.


Back in Osaka, Yoshitsugu talks about his strategy for supplementing their strength with warriors from Kyushu, the western part of the country. There are four powerful forces he's particularly interested in: the Shimazu, the Kuroda, the Ootomo and their retainers, the Tachibana.

Yoshitsugu wants Motochika to work with Mouri Motonari and pay a visit to each of these clans.


Motochika isn't pleased at all; he doesn't have a good relationship with Motonari. Yoshitsugu reminds him that they don't have time to waste if they're dealing with Ieyasu.


In the end, Motochika travels to Aki to meet with Motonari.


There, he learns that Motonari has a grudge against Ieyasu as well - in fact, it seems that his land was attacked by Ieyasu's army, just like Motochika's.


Motochika explains the plan and says he'll take the Shimazu and Kuroda clans if Motonari handles the Ootomo. Motonari seems interested; Ootomo...Sourin?


With everything decided, Motochika heads out on his ship. Motonari smirks.


While all of this is happening, Ieyasu is having a hard time with the former Oda retainers in Owari who have rallied now that Oichi has appeared again.


Investigating on behalf of Magoichi and Keiji, Tsuruhime has tracked Ieyasu to Owari and is now surrounded by enemies. Suddenly, Ujimasa rushes out to defend her from the attackers all on his own.


He looks cool until his back gives out again.


Thankfully, at that moment Tadakatsu flies overhead and drops off Kotarou and Ieyasu, who both make short work of the enemy soldiers.


Tsuruhime immediately decides that Kotarou is the one who is destined for her. She's taken aback when he withdraws in silence the moment she throws herself at him.


Recovering quickly, Tsuruhime wastes no time in interrogating Ieyasu to find out his true intentions.


She performs a divination...


...and ends up even more confused by its ominous nature.


Back at Ueda Castle, Yukimura awakens from a restless sleep full of visions of drowning. Sasuke fills him in on what happened after the battle. Yukimura reflects that Masamune seemed different to the way he was before.


As they ride, Kojuurou is still lecturing Masamune. He's surprised when Masamune suddenly announces that his plan has changed; he wants to head to Ieyasu's territory and beat him.


Since Mitsunari is so fixated on Ieyasu, he'll be forced to notice Masamune if he takes Ieyasu out first.


Motochika has reached his first destination in Kyushu: Satsuma, home to the Shimazu clan. He crosses weapons with Shimazu Yoshihiro on the beach.


Both men are referred to as oni ('demons') in their respective homelands, and they manage to reach an understanding when Motochika mentions that Yukimura is on the side of the western army. Yoshihiro decides to join them.


Meanwhile, Motonari is visiting the Ootomo clan in Bungo province, where a strange religion known as 'Xavism' is preached.


Tachibana Muneshige attempts to greet Motonari but he's immediately shoved aside by Ootomo Sourin.


Sourin excitedly greets Motonari by referring to him as 'Tactician' and 'Sunday'.


When Motonari doesn't react as he'd expected, Sourin simply declares that he must have lost his memory.


Sourin is immediately convinced that joining up with Motonari must be his mission.


...


Muneshige privately worries about how weird they must seem.


Having gained an ally without having to do anything at all, Motonari departs.


Next, Motochika visits Kuroda Kanbee. Kanbee is furious about how he's been treated by Yoshitsugu in the past - his arms are still chained together.


It doesn't seem likely that Kanbee will agree to work with Motochika at first, even though he's pleased to have someone to talk to who appears to sympathise with his misfortune.


Motochika has an idea though - perhaps a young oracle he knows can use her powers to help search for the missing key to Kanbee's chains. Kanbee eagerly jumps at the opportunity to free himself.


Masamune has reached Ieyasu, who thinks that he's there to form an alliance at first.


Masamune explains the real reason. He wants to challenge Ieyasu one-on-one. Ieyasu suggests that they make the fight more interesting with a wager - then proceeds to thoroughly trounce Masamune.


Although he's not willing to accept defeat at first, Masamune is eventually forced to concede to Ieyasu.


Looking down at the shameful sight before him, Kojuurou raises a fist and grunts Masamune's childhood name: Bontenmaru.


There are now 65 days remaining until the Battle of Sekigahara.

--

Sourin appeared! The scene was really short, but I was so happy to see both Sourin and Muneshige finally making it into the anime. It was also good to see Kanbee, at last, and Motochika is proving to be a magnificent negotiator - the western army needs someone like him to help them build relationships more than he realises.

I also like how Judge End is making Ujimasa seem awesome (for once). The last time we saw him he was a sweet, broken old man mourning his fallen castle, and now he's leaping into danger to rescue damsels in distress! Good work, Ujimasa!

Next week's episode will be titled Sengen ('Declaration').

22 comments:

  1. l like this eps so much , also more masamune Appearance make me happy ^ ^ but l don't think masamune will make Alliance with Ieyasu in the next eps not yet l think anyway the most shocked part it's when Kojuurou say Bontenmaru omg why the eps have to end in the good part *^* l hope to see some flash back in the next eps or they will not dammit l can't wait

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    1. They're really teasing the fans of the games and other adaptations with all of these cliffhanger endings! The atmosphere in the Date army seems a lot more tense than it was in the games - probably because of the quick pacing - so I wonder what Kojuurou's about to do with his crazy lord.

      Together with all of the little samples of the Bontenmaru-hen manga that Yoshihara-sensei has been posting on Twitter recently, it feels as though there's a lot of interest in the history between Masamune and Kojuurou again ^^

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  2. Not gonna lie, and I don't want to be negative...but Jydge End so far has just really disappointed me. It's given me something to watch, but I find the action and story from Production I.G.'s seasons to be so much more faster paced and heated. This anime really lacks the over the top nature of BASARA that the earlier seasons captured so well.

    I'll still watch it, but probably only to see how they end it as opposed to being excited when a new episode comes out.

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    1. I'm absolutely certain they're just revealing all the plots and plans that are intertwining so they can have episodes with full on battles rather than have plot devices jump out at the last minute. This anime is definitely more drama based though, yeah...

      Which... is good for me. I'm in it for the characters more than the action, to be honest. Ehehe.

      It's also worth noting that IG's anime was incredibly action based, even moreso than the games (somehow), so it's only natural if one is into the series just for the action that they'd be underwhelmed with this show. You certainly see nothing like wall-climing horses or DBZ style sky fights in the games!

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    2. Liked this from start to end: good fights (finally an animated Masamune vs Ieyasu), good ost (so many, the Yukimura vs Masamune one, the "Twilight Ninja To The Rescue" one, the One-eyed Dragon vs Tokugawa), finally unspoken characters made their debut (Sourin, Muneshige, Kanbe). Tsurihime's vision of Ieyasu really scared me out and made me remeber the route in SB3 of Ieyasu vs Mitsunari at Sekigahara, so sad. Do you think in regard of that, we will se an "End" like it should be meant ? Serious matters aside, Motonari's urge to leave because his heart was saying "run before you start dancing!" just made my day XD
      About the differences from the other 2 seasons, it's just a matter of interpretations. In those it has been decided to reflect the "musou" component of the games to the extreme (1vs100000 making them fly away) but it ended with some comic fashion like wall-climbing horses, sparkling and coloured attacks emedded with power. For this one it has been decided to keep up with the SB3 storyline and make it a bit more realistic: our favourite generals still have their "powers" but they are now more realistic. The perfect mix would be some kind of intermediate way (because we know they actually can make people fly) so this far i assume its the only thing i feel like its missing. But i can say i am definitely seeing and feeling the drama this time, its great. About sky fight like DBZ, in SB4 wasn't Masamune flying with an horse? XD

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    3. There's nothing wrong with being critical, Vibra :)

      I think Production I.G.'s anime managed a lot of things extraordinarily well, but with a much lower budget and some newbies on the staff, Judge End would definitely struggle to match that kind of quality. I really like that they're not really trying to do the same thing (which they would fail at) and instead they're giving a lot more focus to characters who were treated quite badly in the past.

      I can see that it's not for everyone, though; if the craziness of the first series was part of its appeal this one will fall flat in a direct comparison, and the pacing is completely different this time around. Still, the new staff have done so much better than I expected that I can't help but be deliriously happy *_*;

      Some of my Japanese friends are expecting that the plot will start diverging from the game more and more as we move into the second half of the show, towards the 'original ending' that the staff were teasing about. I hope they can make the actual battle at Sekigahara last for several episodes so we can see all of the different groups working together (or not) on an actual battlefield for a decent length of time.

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    4. So Judge End might really be End Of Judgement, in fact some kink of twist or plot that will somehow interrupt the flow of the events at Sekigahara. Well we'll see, so far i'm hopeful: the team have done well so far, they managed to keep up with the original story without just merely repeating it from SB3 but making it somehow refreshing and even more cool (there are references and plot schemes from games other then SB3, not to mention the flow of events, the musics and the fights and all the rest), i'm exited every week to know hot they did render this or that and what new will we see. About Sekigahara i was hoping the same, to see it last more than one episode and have the chance to see in action every part and character of both sides (team up fights could really be cool). About the whole comparison between the previous seasons and the OAV with JE, let's just say that these that came before were an exagerated introspection of the whole SB franchise rendered as a crazy (in Masamune's way) action show while JE even though might be less action packaged it is a more refined product aimed towards fans that knew and played SB (especially SB3) that will surely appreciate -as we're doing for what i've seen so far- its intensity and its drama but without negating its action nature (just reduced to a more "human" level but that not means a loss of awesomeness or quality). I just want to say one more thing, all of this i'm writing is not merely praising the show 'cause its cool or its SB. I do like animation but i'm a gamer too. This 2 passions have in common one thing: expectations. When i read a manga i have expectation towards its anime-self. When i play a game, i have expectation of how much i will enjoy it. I can say for now that both aspects -the overall quality of the anime itself and the loyalty to the script (with a very good interpretation)- are up to my expectation.

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    5. Thanks Raindrop, I guess I'm just a really action-inclined person XD Like I absolutely loved the MasaYuki fight at the beginning of the episode and the short Motochika vs Yoshihiro fight in the middle. This has actually been my favourite episode so far - especially since we finally got to see Sorin and Muneshige :D

      I appreciate them taking the drama direction for JE, but it's such a focus on it that I underestimated how important the action from the last season was to me and now the pacing seems slow in comparison - which with all the character building isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that heated feel from previously would be occasionally needed to not make it feel drawn out if you know what I mean.

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    6. >oxaider

      To be fair, the pre-SB3 games weren't as serious and dramatic as SB3. It's not that there wasn't drama, but the entire thing was a lot more about being fun than being a serious drama to be taken very seriously. For me, the Productoin IG anime series has represented the nature of SB that I like the most and which drew me to the franchise to start with (crazy fun, not without drama but ultimately not taking itself too seriously), while JE follows SB3 in being very dramatic and taking itself very seriously (if you ask me, way too seriously for the setting and the characters). I've always been on the opinion that serious drama is not SB's forte, and needless to say SB3 is not my favorite of the games either, so JE being faithful to the game is not something I really appreciate. (Well, at least this episode had Sourin, that was nice.)

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    7. It would be nice if they build on JE's heavy focus on story by having the next project be something completely insane. The anime-only viewers are finally caught up on the Sengoku Basara 3 characters now (not that many of the anime-only viewers seem to be watching ;_;) so they're primed and ready for an adaptation of one of the spin-off series, in my opinion!

      If they ever animate Sengoku Basara 4 I think it would do well in the previous I.G. style, since the overarching plot is relatively simple and (mostly) less dependent on tragedy. Plus they already have much of the in-house character design work done...

      It's a shame that I.G. have quite a few high profile adaptations lined up already though; I imagine they won't be needing to approach Capcom for any new projects for a while.

      It's also a shame that the western Judge End home video release is a way off yet; I remember a lot of people complaining that I.G.'s anime felt too confusing to a person with no knowledge of Japanese history and I'm really curious about how those same people will react to this version, where the underlying plot is now at the forefront but in exchange, it flies by really, really quickly ^_^;

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    8. ->Kuromitsu

      I know the brand is more fun-directed but for script purposes it was necessary to make it dramatical (and i find amazing the fact that when they came up with doing SB3 with drama, they really did it well). SB3 is so far my favourite (story related). I'd like to say what i think about SB4 (for gameplay in first place) but Capcom wants billions of sure sells so i don't think we'll ever see it. But i'm curious about one thing: why not to release it digitally with only english subs ? I swear i'd buy the digital release and the retail copy for the sake of having it.

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    9. >Raindrops
      I'm still hoping for a Gakuen Basara series, as unlikely as it is... Although I do wonder how the audience would react to a more crazy SB. I suppose those who prefer the I.G. anime would think "this is more like it!" but I'm not sure that those who are in it for the drama and tragedy would enjoy the parodies and the characters being silly.

      In any case, I think that unfortunately the I.G. ship has sailed for a number of reasons... They had different character designs, different music, a different attitude re: being faithful to the game, etc. I would think Capcom would any new adaptation to follow JE in style.

      To be honest I never understood why people thought lack of knowledge of Japanese history made the previous anime confusing... ^^;; It's not like SB gives a whole lot of damn about history and being historically correct. In S1-S2 I remember only two instances that clearly referenced historical anecdotes (Kenshin sending salt to Shingen, Keiji giving Toshiie a cold bath), and one of them is ultimately inconsequential (it's obvious that Kenshin and Shingen are friendly rivals) and the other can be written off as Keiji being mischevious like that. And sure, the writer (or the director?) was apparently a fan of the Dokuganryuu Masamune TV drama and added some homages, but again that's nothing really important. A knowledge of Sengoku-era history supplies a lot of extra info that makes the show (and the games) more absurd and fun, but I always thought there was no need to know history to enjoy SB...

      (I mean, I can see someone who has a knowledge of history but lacks a sense of humor and "just go with the flow" attitude being thoroughly confused with, say, the whole "Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura duel over Ishida Mitsunari" thing.... :D never mind Mouri Motonari's state of being alive and looking quite youthful.)

      >oxaider

      I think ultimately it's down to personal taste... Although I don't think it was ever necessary to make it so seriously dark and dramatic. I understand that they were going for character development for Masamune and Yukimura, and a personal drama between Ieyasu and Mitsunari, but the former felt forced to me, and the latter... let's just say I'm still having trouble taking the two seriosuly as dramatic, tragic characters. ^^;; What I'm trying to say is, there could've been other ways. Oh well, it is very subjective.

      I think they don't release the game with English subs because they don't think they'd make any money on it? Translating and subbing the whole game would be quite a lot of money, and given how the SB franchise has performed outside Japan, Capcom probably thinks it's just not worth it.

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  3. P.S. even tough Masamune was fighting with hatred towards Mitsunari, i really liked the fist to fist confrontation between him and Yukimura. It felt like Yukimura was the only one that could take on openly Masamune's grudge. Even if short it was really good, an hand to hand fight was yet to be seen between them (finally Yukimura's endurance training with Shingen turns out useful XD).

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    1. Haha, yes, I couldn't help thinking that Yukimura must have the advantage in a fistfight from his years of brutal experience :D

      Yukimura came off really well in that whole scene (even though he was beaten up). He was so heroic and determined; I wanted to root for him!

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    2. I was a bit disappointed, though - I mean, really, Yukimura that was your best punch? Shingen would be ashamed... ^^;;

      Anyway, I keep reading opinions that the JE goes out of its way to humiliate Masamune, and while I definitely don't agree with them, I am starting to feel that it's gotten too much re: Yukimura. I don't know if it's the writing or editing or something else, but his defeats have a different overtone here than in the game, and by the time Masamune went "Sanada, anta wa mou ii" I was really gritting my teeth. :/ It's starting to have a really bitter aftertaste that I didn't feel in the game, even as I wasn't a huge fan of his story there either.

      (Good thing we had Sourin and Kanbee. Sourin's scene with Mouri was the highlight for me, even as it felt really, really out of place, like all comic relief in this series...)

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    3. Hehe, it's odd; my opinion of Yukimura's development is quite different, though you're a much more dedicated Yukimura fan than I am so that might be part of it. In the game version, I found it a lot harder to connect with his despair, so I just felt annoyed at times and wanted to shake sense into him. Maybe it's familiarity - or the breakneck pacing - that's making Judge End's depiction much easier to take for some reason. I got a real 'Hinomoto No Tsuwamono' feeling from Yukimura for a moment this time around.

      It might just be because the previews haven't been released yet but I feel like I can't tell what's going to happen next with all of these slight deviations from the game. I hope we get to see the armies assembled and some proper interactions between the members soon...!

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    4. What I'm having a problem with is not really his development, it's the... aftertaste? I can't really put it better (it's after midnight over here)... I know what they're trying to do and why, but basically, it's too much. After the fiasco with Kenshin now he fights to protect Mitsunari (who doesn't seem to appreciate it ^^;; ), gets defeated relatively easily by Masamune (of all people), needs to be saved by Sasuke and Kojuurou, is left in the dust by Masamune, and then later Sasuke keeps rubbing salt into his wound... ^^;; Sure, he failed and got defeated in the game, too, but somehow there it didn't have such a bitter aftertaste. Sorry, I'm probably not being clear...

      It's a bit like how I felt like with the Takeda dojo story - oh, of course I loved it, but first poor Yukimura gets defeated by Kojuurou, told that he's not good enough for Masamune, then that he's still only at the level of a younger Masamune, later he has to sit and watch in awe as Masamune defeats Shingen coming at him on full power (even though he's still supposed to be recuperating from his bullet wound), and then, on the drama CD, listen as Shingen sings Masamune's praise. That's another case of "guys, I understand what you're trying to do but really, come on..." ^^;;

      I won't even try to guess what's going to happen, but I'd bet anything that they'll try to arrange a story that leads to an end like the movie's, where everyone stays alive and things settle into a new status quo... it's not like they can kill either Mitsunari or Ieyasu, after all.

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    5. You do have a point and i get the "aftertaste" you're talking about. From my point of view its going far worse for Masamune than Yukimura. I'm looking forward to see a deent animated fight between Ieyasu and Mitsunari and maybe like in SB4 between Yukimura and Ieyasu (other than the rematch Masamune vs Mitsunari). About the drama between Ieyasu and Mitsunari: i recall i readed that Ieyasu's decision to kill Hideyoshi was for Mitsunari's good too 'cause he was becoming a blood-thirsty warrior blindly following his Lord's order and attitude
      (this scene is hinted in the Last Party opening where Ieyasu and Mitsunari are on a building on fire). The drama is Ieyasu is kind-hearted and to keep pace and unity have to do many things that goes against his ideals (you know, talking about peace and bonds while killing his former master and so on) to a point he seems an hypocrite while Mitsunari lived only for Hideyoshi and Hanbei and when he started to be close to Ieyasu (who shared the same idea of Hideyoshi) he only discovers its actually his fault and on top of that he says its for the greater good (and he did it for Mitsunari's sake). Kinda twisted and full of drama, 'cause the both of them were friends (in my opinion closer than Masamune and Sanada since they shared no other connection) and yet now they must do what they do. More drama is added when you see all the scheming that is being made at Mitsunari's back. As Motochika said, Mitsunari must remarkable feat is his pure attitude and being honest (that's why he hates treachery so much) yet the people he trusted backstabbed him. Its a conflic of the opposite, Ieyasu is honest but appears as a liar while Mitsunari is honest to the heart yet atrocius things are being done in his name. On a side note about the fist fight, Yukimura is the only one that evaded a punch then he hit Masamune thrice in a row.

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    6. As for Masamune, I don't know... from what I can see there's a sort of outrage over JE Masamune, and I keep seeing opinions like "I don't even like Masamune that much, but this is ridiculous!"

      Personally, I don't think it's that bad, it's how he handles the humiliation that feels off for me. OK he's supposed to be fixated on getting his revenge and healing the wound on his pride, but it's getting really weird. Again, it has to be the writing and/or the editing, because even as he does things he did in the game as well, he comes off as worse here. And then there's calling Yukimura "just a pebble in my way" (I forgot to mention this in my previous comment, but augh, Masamune!), there's that "you were careless enough to get wounded so shut up" (I paraphrase) line to Kojuurou (again a case where the line is similar to what he says in the game but has different connotations due to the context...), or his "Ieyasu, Ieyasu, I'll defeat that Ieyasu, then Mitsunari will have to pay attention to me" yandere moment (that I couldn't help finding hilarious ^^;;)...

      And yes, it is meant to be bad, other characters keep noting that he's clearly not his usual self (Kojuurou's face tends to say it all), but he keeps crossing certain lines, and I think he comes across as worse and less sympathetic than the writer intended. I tend to agree with those who say that it's like his personality got mixed up with Mitsunari's, JE Masamune has a tendency to sound like Mitsunari in his worse moments, and it doesn't really reflect well on the character (especially given the difference in their motivations).

      As for Ieyasu and Mitsunari, they're both sympathetic in their own way (Mitsunari is easier to understand which is I think one of the reasons for him being more popular - I think Ieyasu is a more complicated character), but more importantly, I think they both have to survive simply because if Mitsunari kills Ieyasu he reaches a dead end as a character, while killing off Mitsunari would end in the staff getting lynched. ^^;; So I think they'll try to write the plot so most everyone survives (I do expect Yoshitsugu dying, though).

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    7. It's a shame that losing Gyoubu is such a powerful story twist for Mitsunari's development; I'm very fond of him so it hurts to see him dying horribly all the time ^^;

      I'm inclined to agree about Masamune; obviously I'm already a fan so I'm already devoted to him, but in the content of Judge End as a standalone series they haven't really shown him doing anything admirable whatsoever in between the tantrums, which is damaging his charisma. New viewers must think he's a dreadfully spoiled brat at this point, whereas for me part of Masamune's appeal is that he's actually quite self aware and cunning deep down. I didn't really consider it until you guys started talking about it, since I was already biased from seeing him in the games and other media ^^;

      I'm a little concerned for Ieyasu at this point; sure, we know how certain things are likely to play out from the games (and more recently, from the spoiler-filled previews), but he has so few allies right now and Tsuruhime's vision seems to indicate a lot of darkness ahead of him. Tadatsugu, be careful...

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  4. Well I loved every minute of this episode! Fuck yeah!! I don't know what else to say really other than OMFG Sorin, and geez cool down Masamune, Kojurou is ashamed. I can relate to those who think JE is too drama but I loved this ep.

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    1. That was pretty much my reaction :)

      A lot of people seem delighted about Sourin's arrival; I've been seeing so many happy reactions on Twitter (even from people who had previously shown no sign of secret Xavist tendencies). Even Xavi got a tiny scene, and it might have been longer than his cameo in the first season of I.G.'s adaptation!

      Motonari's complicated facial expression around Sourin were probably my very favourite moment.

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