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 is 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, even when the Japanese television broadcast is delayed. Subscribers can 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. Even though the videos are region-locked, fans outside the US can still visit the site and rate the videos to show that there's demand!
Anime Digital Network (France only)
ADN are offering the series online with French subtitles. So far, the first eight 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). It seems to have begun, so the schedule can be viewed at the link.
Viewster (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway only)
The show's broadcast was announced as being 'day and date with Japan' but it took a while for them to catch up. They seem to have settled into a rhythm now and the first nine episodes are already 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. In spite of this I feel very strongly about supporting the official translated 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.
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.
The rest of this post contains spoilers for the first ten episodes of Sengoku Basara: Judge End and some low quality screenshots. Please note that I'm watching the show in untranslated 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 known as the 'Demon King', 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.
The series began with the Toyotomi army launching a major attack on Odawara Castle, home to the Houjou clan. The Date army tried to interfere and were brutally defeated by Ishida Mitsunari, a loyal warrior renowned as 'Toyotomi's Left Arm'. Despite their overwhelming strength, the Toyotomi attack was stopped when Tokugawa Ieyasu rebelled against Hideyoshi's methods and killed him in combat. Hideyoshi's devoted strategist Takenaka Hanbee died at Odawara too, leaving Mitsunari behind to curse Ieyasu's name and swear revenge against his former ally.
Since that day, Mitsunari and his loyal retainers worked to expand the former Toyotomi army by building alliances with the Mouri, Kuroda, Shimazu, Ootomo, Tachibana and Kobayakawa clans.
After some soul searching, the newly appointed general of the Takeda clan - Sanada Yukimura - decided that the Takeda forces would join Mitsunari's growing 'Western Army' too, bringing Uesugi Kenshin's trusted ninja Kasuga along with them. Meanwhile, Chousokabe Motochika struck out on his own after learning that his original reasons for siding with Mitsunari were based on deception.
Elsewhere, Maeda Keiji joined up with the powerful Saika mercenaries, his aunt Matsu and the oracle Tsuruhime. The group stumbled upon a troubling new discovery: Kobayakawa Hideaki's advisor, Tenkai, is actually Akechi Mitsuhide in disguise.
As the Eastern and Western armies clash on the battlefield at Sekigahara, alliances are broken and new bonds are forged. Mitsuhide reappears in the middle of the fighting with Oda Nobunaga's sister, Oichi, in his clutches.
The skies cloud over and a dark temple which resembles Honnouji rises up from the crack in the ground. Will anyone be able to prevent Mitsuhide's plan to revive the Demon King?
Episode 10: Shitou ('Fight To The Death')
The episode begins with Masamune and Yukimura rushing in towards the fighting taking place around the dark temple. Like Mitsunari, they're not pleased by the new interruption to the battle they'd been looking forward to so much.
In the heart of the disturbance, Kobayakawa Hideaki is back to being his usual cowardly self.
The rampaging dark hands grab him but he's saved by Tenkai (hereafter referred to as Mitsuhide).
The two are briefly reunited.
Until Mitsuhide sends Hideaki away to safety.
Mitsuhide then heads into the building which rose from the crack in the ground, alone.
Inside, Oichi is suspended upside-down, surrounded by dark tendrils.
The darkness forms a cocoon around her.
Keiji, Matsu, Magoichi and Sasuke have their hands full.
They're busy battling the zombified Oda soldiers outside the temple.
Thankfully, it isn't long before Masamune, Kojuurou and Yukimura arrive on the scene.
Magoichi asks for their help.
Masamune hesitates for a moment.
But Yukimura immediately agrees.
The two join forces to fight off the monstrous Oda troops.
They seem to be having a lot of fun.
Some distance away, Motochika and Motonari are fighting with their colossal weapons.
Motochika is concerned at the dark cloud in the distance, but he has his hands full.
Entering the temple, Magoichi and her group encounter Mitsuhide.
He proudly announces the revival of Nobunaga before being stabbed from behind unexpectedly.
Oichi introduces herself as the Sixth Demon King.
Mitsuhide falls to the ground, apparently dead.
Oichi's soft voice has become deep and malevolent.
The shape of Nobunaga's demon hovers in the air behind her.
Magoichi orders her troops to fire.
Keiji tries to get between them to protect Oichi.
However, the demon swats him out of the way effortlessly.
The bullets from Magoichi's troops have no effect on the demon.
The soldiers continue firing as Oichi laughs at them.
The next one to confront the demon is Matsu.
Her shouting forces Oichi to remember her dead husband, Nagamasa, and their past together.
Matsu's words briefly snap Oichi back to her senses.
It's not long before Oichi loses control again, but Matsu manages to buy Keiji enough time to recover.
He tackles the demon head on and asks Magoichi to shoot. She hesitates for a moment, then fires on the demon.
Although Keiji is wounded, the attack has the desired effect, defeating the demon. The temple begins to crumble and vanishes from the battlefield.
Outside, the zombified soldiers fade away along with the dark miasma. As the darkness clears, it reveals Kasuga lying unconscious nearby.
Sasuke greets her. After a little of their usual verbal sparring it's clear that Kasuga is going to be fine.
Magoichi worries about Keiji, who is still lying where he fell.
Keiji will be fine, though. He's overjoyed that Magoichi called him by his name during the fight with Oichi.
Matsu is taking care of Oichi, who seems to be fine (albeit unconscious).
With the sky clear again, the battleground is back to its original state.
The immediate danger is now out of the way, so the temporary truce between the two armies comes to an end.
Masamune and Yukimura renew their promise to meet up again when the time is right.
The other characters are still fighting elsewhere on the battlefield. Kanbee has finally engaged Fuuma Kotarou in combat.
Tsuruhime arrives on the scene and demands that they both stop fighting.
She apologises to Kanbee...
...and explains that Kotarou doesn't have the key he's looking for, after all.
However, a bird flying overhead at that moment does.
With the key he's been looking for right in front of him, Kanbee is in despair.
He fires himself out of a nearby cannon and begins his pursuit anew!
Tsuruhime is left alone with Kotarou - or so she thinks. He stoically resists her advances.
As Masamune and Kojuurou head towards Mitsunari, they're ambushed by Ootani Yoshitsugu and his poisoned thorns.
Kojuurou stops to face Yoshitsugu while Masamune heads off alone.
Meanwhile, Yukimura has reached Ieyasu's camp.
Moments later, the two of them begin to fight.
The disturbance from their confrontation can be seen from a distance. Yoshitsugu tries to use it to distract Kojuurou.
However, Kojuurou's resolve is unshaken.
Sasuke and Kasuga watch from the sidelines.
Although Kasuga is worried that Sasuke isn't with his master, Sasuke says that Yukimura won't need his help, the way he is now.
The battle between Shimazu Yoshihiro and Honda Tadakatsu is still raging on in the skies above Sekigahara. Tadakatsu glances at his lord's camp in concern.
Down below, the duel continues.
Yukimura and Ieyasu exchange as many words as they do blows.
Yukimura's fighting style is very athletic.
The pair seem evenly matched.
As the duel draws to a conclusion...
...the two men continue their dialogue.
Yukimura challenges Ieyasu to be true to his feelings.
At last, Masamune reaches Mitsunari's base, ready for his rematch. We're going to have to wait until the next episode to find out whether he gets his wish.
Next week's episode will be titled Shinpan ('Judgement').
Ehh? After all of that foreshadowing, the Nobunaga resurrection was rather anticlimactic in the end. The plant sprouting at the bottom of the chasm made me laugh...
The rest of the episode flew by again, just like last week's. I'm glad that Matsu has a bigger role in this series than expected, and the Yukimura versus Ieyasu battle was cool! Gyoubu's fighting style seemed more accurately portrayed than it was in the movie, too.