Saturday 27 September 2014

Anime review: Sengoku Basara Judge End episode 12 (Final)

It feels as though this season has flown by and we've somehow reached the final episode of Sengoku Basara Judge End in the blink of an eye. After a slight delay due to real-life commitments, I rushed to check it out.

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 02:55 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,, 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 nine episodes are available. They charge a monthly fee for the service.

J-ONE (France only)
A French-subtitled broadcast is taking place on J-ONE - Canalsat (50) and Numericable (38). 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 eleven 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.

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.


The rest of this post contains spoilers for the whole 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. Chousokabe Motochika participated for a short time before discovering that his original reasons for siding with Mitsunari were based on deception. 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, accompanied by Uesugi Kenshin's trusted ninja, Kasuga.

Likewise, Ieyasu travelled around Japan in an attempt to unite other commanders and form an army to rival Mitsunari's. At first he was only able to gain the support of Houjou Ujimasa and his bodyguard, the legendary ninja Fuuma Kotarou. His luck changed when Yukimura's longtime rival Date Masamune declared his allegiance to the fledgling 'Eastern Army'.

While all of this was happening, Maeda Keiji joined up with the powerful Saika mercenaries, his aunt Matsu and the oracle Tsuruhime to thwart a plot by Tenkai - actually Akechi Mitsuhide in disguise - to revive the terrifying 'Demon King', Oda Nobunaga. They finally succeeded just in time to prevent further chaos on the battlefield at Sekigahara.

At last, Ieyasu and Mitsunari approached one another for the decisive battle to determine the fate of the country.

Episode 12: Shirube ('Guide')

The episode starts with the battleground of Sekigahara shrouded in the darkness of the eclipse.

Only Mitsunari and Ieyasu are bathed in light, within the glowing tunnel created by their fallen retainers.

Their ideals clash in a frenzied argument.

The force of their blows sends ripples across the shining arena.

Mitsunari can't help but think of the way Ieyasu used to be.

A flashback shows that Ieyasu respected Mitsunari very deeply.

But now, all Mitsunari sees in him is a liar and hypocrite.

Mitsunari seems to be stronger early in the fight. He demands that Ieyasu tell him why he killed Hideyoshi, once and for all.

At one point, Mitsunari completely loses it, viciously cursing Ieyasu's 'bonds'.

He eventually calms down a little as tears of blood begin to flow from his eyes.

(Seki's voice cracked beautifully at this point, you could really feel Mitsunari's raw emotion.)

Outside, Masamune and Kojuurou speculate on the current state of the duel.

Yukimura observes that it's a tragic situation.

Mitsunari's blade cuts into Ieyasu's neck...

...but Ieyasu manages to counter with a powerful punch.

It's the final blow of the battle.

The eclipse comes to an end, and the glowing battlefield shimmers away.

Seeing that both leaders have fallen, the soldiers call for a retreat. They carry the bodies of Yoshitsugu and Tadakatsu away to safety.

Both Ieyasu and Mitsunari lie defeated on the ground.

With their closest remaining allies at their sides.

Elsewhere, things are more peaceful, and Toshiie is at last reunited with Matsu.

Magoichi asks Keiji whether he's ok not joining them. He's pretty relaxed.

Magoichi points out that Keiji still owes her for the work she did for him under their contract.

She asks him to repay her with his body.

By doing chores, of course. Keiji decides that the two of them should part ways for a while, after all.

However, they separate on good terms.

Ieyasu is alive, though wounded.

He visits Tadakatsu, who has survived as well.

Elsewhere, Mitsunari is waiting in silence at Yoshitsugu's bedside when his friend's eyes reopen for the first time.

The credits suddenly start rolling at this point, but it isn't the end.

It seems that Sourin has managed to open his Xavi Land theme park.

With Revolution working there as a dancer and Muneshige dressing up as the mascot 'Jumbo Xavi-kun', the Ootomo Army's efforts to promote their strange religion continue.

Kanbee is still airborne, pursuing the bird who has the key to his shackles.

Houjou Ujimasa has rebuilt his castle, but Tsuruhime is hot on Kotarou's trail.

Unfortunately, her bouncy personality results in another back injury for poor Ujimasa.

Kenshin and Kasuga are the same as ever!

Motochika is back at sea with his crew, and it seems that even Motonari has survived his loss.

Perhaps the 'sacrificial pawns' in his army took care of their leader in spite of the strong words Motochika had for him during their battle.

Shimazu Yoshihiro is relaxing on the beach, with Miyamoto Musashi training in the background.

Oichi is living a quiet life with the Maeda family.

As Kingo sadly munches on his nabe stew, someone dressed in grey hakama appears behind him.

The timid lord's expression changes to an ecstatic smile.

Yukimura reports back to Shingen at his bedside.

He rises swiftly when Sasuke comes to fetch him.

Masamune declares the 'revival' of the scramble to seize control of the land.

The two rivals clash in classic style.

And at their backs are their allies. The new bonds made during unhappy times have now been strengthened.

Together, Mitsunari, Yoshitsugu, Yukimura, Sasuke and Motochika form the 'Sanada Western Army'.

It's good to see that Motochika appears to have reconciled with Mitsunari now that he's no longer being tricked.

The alliance of Ieyasu, Masamune, Kojuurou and Tadakatsu is now the 'Date Eastern Army'.

But there's more to come: Shingen and Kenshin suddenly arrive on horseback flanked by the entire Uesugi army.

They're joining in too as the 'Kawanakajima Army'.

(So cute!)

Sasuke expresses his disbelief...

...and ends up on the receiving end of one of Yukimura's powerful punches.

All of the assembled warriors end up in a crazy Sekigahara rematch.

And this time, everyone will be fighting for the right reasons.



That was one heck of a crazy episode, but it managed to wrap everything up and ended on a great note even if it wasn't the most logical script ever written.

There were definitely some highs and lows in tone and execution but overall I found Judge End very enjoyable. If they'd had a few more episodes to be able to extend the Tenkai storyline properly and give the characters who barely had any lines more of a role, it could have been even better.

The decision to start the two popular leads off in such a slump was a brave one, perhaps even more so in the anime than in the Sengoku Basara 3 (Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes) game. Masamune got his butt kicked right at the start of that, too, but the player could still appreciate his cool move set and fly through his story in a single afternoon. Here the sense of failure hangs over Masamune for several weeks, making it seem much more severe. I thought that Yukimura came off much better than he did in the game this time around, but he suffered from a similar problem to Masamune at first; he had to be shown to fall down to rock bottom before working his way back up. It must have been a terrible shock for fans of the older anime.

Ieyasu and Mitsunari, on the other hand, enjoyed a much better portrayal than they received before - especially Ieyasu, whose role in Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- was almost pointless. Judge End does a great job of explaining these two characters and their motivations, and I think they'll both get a boost in popularity from the anime-only fans now their tragic relationship has been given the focus it deserved.


With that, I guess that Sengoku Basara Judge End is finally over! Hardly anyone seemed to be watching it outside of the hardcore Sengoku Basara fandom, so I feel lucky that the staff continued trying their best and gave us this little oasis of Sengoku Basara to enjoy each week all summer.

The way that so-called news sites insisted on calling it a third season of the old anime rather than promoting it as a separate spin-off didn't help; even FUNimation contributed to the confusion via their website.

I would also like to state that it really sucked that this series had no legal stream in most countries and that all of the legal options were affected by delays of some kind during the broadcast period. I wish that the anime industry would sort this self-made problem out once and for all.


Personally, I'd rather like it if they can continue to produce short series like Judge End in the absence of another high budget spectacle like the previous anime adaptation. There's plenty of material that could be adapted, from the wacky Mame Sengoku Basara to any of the dramatic stories which weren't covered in the existing anime. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens next.



    Look at all that otherwise heartwarming crap that happened :D Yay extra Maeda/Saika/Oichi crew scenes. Don’t run from Mago Keiji what are you doing. Extra happy everyone scenes. Never thought they would go so blatant with the TM Revolution stuff.

    I can’t believe that basically NO ONE DIED! After all that gloom in the beginning! Even Mori & Tenkai are free to do more evil plots, not completely suprised by all this though. But shit no one died in all the bloody battle whut.

    The ending was surprise - Yukimura and Masamune as leaders instead. What?! And they all seem so happy like it’s a big fun non-violent contest. I mean PARTY.
    Well well at least it ended in not a gut punch for the viewers (Mitsunari recieved a literal one though in the icecream dome) and the ending music was really uplifting.

    Hmm, that ending totally left room for more original content based on SB3 if they want to make it.

    1. It's almost incredible how some people loved this episode and others hated it.

      I'm glad they left some things open as we can now imagine lots of new scenarios, like what's going to happen with the Takeda troops in future, and whether Oichi will settle down and finally find peace, and how Tenkai will deal with his position at Kingo's side now that everyone in the country knows how evil he is, and what kind of evil scheme Motonari is going to come up with in order to take Motochika down a peg or two. Actually, it would be fun to see an entire episode about Motonari recuperating like an angry cat, especially if Sourin comes to visit.

      I'm also grateful that Mitsunari seems more relaxed now! The final duel might not have been an action spectacular, but I felt that Ieyasu and Mitsunari both got a lot of issues off their chests. Finally.

    2. It's so weird to see them be chill and be lead by Yuki & Masa instead esp Ieyasu who wants to be a leader of the country. Mitsunari getting more friends and calming down is nice but weird to see. Yeah apparantly he got to yell and cry out his worst anger or something. Just what is wrong what that man's tear ducts? See a doctor for that already!

      This ep had some problems too but it ended in such a suprising feel good way that it was very enjoyable.

      The most glaring problems being Keiji running away and Motochika not taking the side of his yellow-clad homofriend ;) (minuscule shipper side comes out lol) What, the western side are better allies for him after all?

      It's been fun discussing the series here with everyone.

    3. Perhaps the reason that Motochika chose Mitsunari is that they now both share a grudge against Motonari for his unhelpful backstabbing. Or maybe he just wants to get closer to his buddy Ieyasu by beating him up in battle, in true warrior style?

      I'm sure Keiji will be back at Magoichi's side eventually. She's so good at manipulating him :D

  2. Not my favorite anime adaptation, but it has great moments. Toshie!!!! At least I saw you!!!! Thanks to him and Matsu to take care of Oichi ^-^ Shimazu and Musashi lol .

    I agree with you we need more Basara adaptation. I prefer something like judge end than nothing. Meme Basara , Gakuen Basara or Sengoku Basara 4 story would be great! I want something more than just the story of the 3 over and over.

    well I hope with this finish they can come with more news for the next game ^-^

    Basara forever!

    1. I think that's a good summary. It certainly wasn't perfect, but I felt it was well worth watching. Even though poor Toshiie didn't get to speak I'm sure he was happy to appear and welcome Matsu back home :D

      Let's hope for more adaptations in future, with a lot of variety so that everyone can find something to enjoy!

  3. I just...

    I can't begin to express how much I liked this episode. The third is still probably my favorite for obvious reasons, but this one... There was so much symbolism in that fight, then the montage in the middle with Xaviland and Mouri being taken care of and (HOLY CRAP IS THAT MUSASHI?) and Hideaki and Oichi getting happy endings AND THEN THAT ENDING.

    Cutest Kasuga ever, will likely be my avatar everywhere for a long, long time.
    Sasuke getting BTFO by Yukimura Punch
    Let's PARTY!

    Honestly, this anime had a lot of hiccups which I think could have been cured with either a longer run, cutting out some plotlines, or a better budget, but as a Sengoku Basara fan it was well worth the watch. I'm very very pleased that my favorites (KnK, Oichi) got ample screentime, and that some characters I like who are less popular (Matsu, Tsuru, Kanbei, Kingo) got something to do. I also appreciate that rather than forcing a lead with Masamune and Yukimura they stuck to Ieyasu and Mitsunari.

    All in all I'd recommend it to anyone who is a fan of SB, but I'd insist they stick with it if they only saw the first anime due to how gutsy they got with treating Red and Blue. (Though, as a side note, to everyone else who is just a fan of the Sengoku era in general or just anime, I'd probably rec Nobunaga Concerto first out of the two Sengoku-era shows I watched this season... Ugh it pains me Judge End got so few viewers, but Concerto got even less I'm sure. That show was a masterpiece...)

    Now, for speculation (?!) I think that given pretty much only Isono, Nobunaga, Nagamasa, Hideyoshi, and Hanbei kicked the bucket it'd be the perfect lead in for a SB4 anime. Just put in Matsunaga or Ashikaga shenanigans at Sekigahara for a 4-way battle to start it off, really. Could also have Katsuie just start his story as the new head of the Oda Remnants and give Oichi a whole new story or something if Ashikaga doesn't bring everyone back to life; and Ishida leading Toyotomi could work fairly well.

    1. Er, Episode 4 that is. I'm cursed with horrible memory. :^)

    2. A fair review, I think, and I second the idea for using this as a primer to lead into more Sengoku Basara 4 content. I'd support Yoshiteru magically remixing the timeline to revive all of the dead characters if possible so Oichi can be with Nagamasa because that offers great opportunity for drama with Katsuie (and gives Maria a reason to exist). Then again, I'm not sure I can take watching Hanbee dying again so perhaps a direct follow-on from Judge End would be much better. They've established the four leads nicely now so they could take a back seat and let the other storylines from 4 carry the main plot.

      Nobunaga Concerto was a brilliant show. I think it's had more people talking about it in the west than poor Judge End, however, most of what the general anime fans have been saying seems to be negative, so being more obscure might actually be an advantage so long as people can't recognise quality when they seen it ;_;

      I keep trying to get my friends to give Nobunaga Concerto a try since it's so good...

    3. Just chiming in to second (third?) the awesomeness of Nobunaga Concerto. It ended up as my favorite series in this season, and having read the manga in the meanwhile, I must say it was a really wonderful adaptation as well. I've grown ridiculously attached to the characters and the story, and I'm so sad that the anime had to end at 10 episodes only... no justice in this business. :(

  4. So one thing I never got, but who was narrating everything? Was it just a random voice, or is it suppose to be a character?

    Holy whoa, this finale. It's like I got trolled, but in such an awesome way, I can't even hate it xD

    That first half where Mitsunari and Ieyasu face off was really emotional, and fuck yes, Mitsunari played up the angsty man-pain part sooooo good. But then when they both struck each other, I was so shocked. It never even occurred to me to think that they could end the show killing them both off.

    And they didn't. Never mind Ieyasu and Mitsunari both lived, but holy whoa, NO ONE ELSE really died either. It's not like I was really hoping to see characters die, but it felt like such a huge troll, pulling my heart with all those sad moments T.T

    Anyways, that aside, the second half felt even more ridiculous. I mean, yay for Yukimura and Masamune fighting it out to be the leader of the country, but Mitsunari's was like a shell of himself when he was with Yoshitsugu, but seemed fine ready to support Sanada at that point, what.

    Although Takeda and Uesugi teaming up was so random, and WHY DOES HE WANT TO FIGHT YUKIMURA TOO?! He was fighting as Takeda's stand-in, wasn't he? X_x

    Anyways, the idea of that awesome clash-up does make me forgive everything, but it felt so wacky to see the season end on such a campy high-note after 11+ episodes of angst xD

    1. I believe the narrator is a random voice. According to a Japanese fan on Twitter who has already listened to the Blu-ray audio commentary, the decision to use a female narrator came from the broadcaster (NTV) rather than from Capcom so there's no particular meaning to changing from the usual guy.

      I guess Shingen was recognising Yukimura as a general in his own right by going up against him with Kenshin (especially now that his pupil has mastered the authoritative Oyakata-sama punch). Being sick in bed must have been hard for someone like Shingen so what better way to recuperate than to charge into battle and risk his life to beat Yukimura up as an equal?

      (In other words, it was Sengoku Basara logic...?)

      I love reading your conflicted feelings on the ending XD

    2. ...So, like, I didn't even know the voice was female and assumed it was a male <.< >.>

      Haha, that SenBasa logic. First "commandment" probably goes something like "everything can be fixed with a punch to the face" :P

      Thank you for giving me a place to vent my conflicted feelings, lol. I'm still iffy about Mitsunari's "recovery" emotionally, but I suppose a decent amount of time passed between both the end and start of the Sekigahara battles...

      Can't wait to see how they'll adapt the SB4 plot aspects into a new series or movie xD

  5. A brilliant end to Judgement. Well the party continue as always.

    I was expecting a victor on Sekigahara, but at the same time I realized that this is a Sengoku Basara "anime", no lovable character dies unless they are giant overlords or sometimes villains.

    I was hoping they fought at Osaka (Summer Siege).

    Anyway time to give this animes some pros and cons.

    I will start with that Judge End gave the BEST Yukimura in the entire Sengoku Basara series. From the games and the animes, Yukimura was always the young hot-blooded, and airheaded man who is learning the responsibility as the successor of Kai. He was never for the mature type because that was given to Masamune, who was suppose to be superior to Yukimura in those terms because he is already a leader. But Judge End, changed Yukimura to become as matured as Masamune. This is both given an example when they know lead their own grand armies to battle. They are both on equal plains like rivals should be.

    After Sengoku Basara 4, I am disappointed a little on how they portray Ieyasu. In SB3, Ieyasu was a man who really believed in Bonds and he was going to punch everyone to show it. He was a confident leader who was prepared to accept anything that would stand in his way whether his ways are right or not.
    Starting SB4 and Ieyasu is now a man who is indecisive and worrying alot about his actions. It a little bit of a downgrade, but it gives Ieyasu more character development and a chance for Mitsunari to gain the upper hand.

    Have an endless party!

    1. "no lovable character dies unless they are giant overlords or sometimes villains"

      Lots of characters, including young Ieyasu, appeared to die in the Prod IG anime. When it got popular and another season were made the creators were like ooops, we need these characters! So there was a lot of weird revivals. That's why I wonder if JE is tried to make sure most characters survived in case the show got popular enough for another season. Don't know how well this was recieved in Japan though.

    2. I think this series will do quite badly in Japan since it's not got as much mainstream appeal. I'd guess it will sell between 2,000 and 5,000 copies, which is a massive drop from the original - the reported sales will be much lower but a lot of fans are female so they only buy on DVD or at stores which don't report their sales to Oricon. I'm buying it but my sales won't count for the rankings either since exports are excluded. I'm guessing that the budget for the Production I.G. version was many times higher, so I'm not sure whether Judge End will be considered a success or not even with much lower sales; merchandise sales might mean it was worthwhile in spite of its obscurity.

      The character deaths in I.G.'s anime were really confusing. I was shocked when Ieyasu was taken out so easily, and annoyed when Yoshihiro suddenly reappeared despite the fatal-looking injury he sustained in his cop-out death scene from the first season. It was difficult to know when a death was going to be permanent or not so I'm glad Judge End saved all of the implausible resurrections for the very end of the show.

      This cooler, more reliable Yukimura is awesome. He's occasionally like that in the other spin-offs but here he singlehandedly brought a sense of honour to the tangled Western Army and helped Mitsunari find his way without fading into the background. More of that in the next game, please!

      With Ieyasu, I think that some people loved him in Sengoku Basara 3 but others found him difficult to relate to because he seemed so perfect (yet hypocritical), so all of the portrayals since have tried to explain his inner feelings in more detail. I never disliked him, but I think the newer versions of his story have been easier for me to understand and I like him a lot more now. It's a shame they didn't explore his relationship with Tadatsugu better...

    3. Agree with you two that Yukimura has been a highlight of JE btw.

      Prod IG deaths: Obviously Mitsuhide just ran in and kicked Ieyasu in the balls for lolz, then reported falsehoods to Nobunaga as usual. Young Ieyasu was then so shocked by the whole incident that he went through puberty and grew up in like 2 weeks. True fact.
      I did spit out my drink though when Shimazu cheerfully appeared in S2 wearing a big stupid bandage on his chest after having been shot in the head.

      I'm afraid I still find grown-up Ieyasu rather mysterious. Say what you want about Mitsunari but you always know what's on his mind heh.

    4. I wish I agreed on Yukimura. In theory I really like the concept they were trying to go for, unfortunately I found the way they actually went about doing it horribly planned and horribly executed. :/ (Then again, I thought it was like that for the others as well.) If they ever plan to address this route of character development in a new game or adaptation (I hope so) I really hope they'll do a better job with it.

  6. Ok errmm... I don't know where to begin with... Alright, after I watched the final episode yesterday, all I can say is, this is like Sengoku Basara version of Samurai X with all the symphony and sympathetic dramatic environment, musics, sadness, seriousness and many things that could relate to Samurai X except for that Xavism, Kanbe, Tsuruhime and Ujimasa. As a hardcore fan of Sengoku Basara, there are basically few things that I would like to point out.

    First of all, there is one the things that keeps bothering me which I found it kinda annoying by the fact that they made Tadatsugu being involved in the Xavism and Sorin decided to leave the battlefield without allowing us fans to see Muneshige in action! To me, it was totally pointless from the very beginning of their appearances because I don't see the point of them being there in the first place. They should at least make Muneshige fighting off against Masamune, Mitsunari or whoever there is and same goes to Sorin as well. Not to mention, until now I don't even know what kind of power and strength does Tadatsugu possess?

    Second, their typical 'lack of characters' issue. Why Yoshiaki Mogami isn't in this series but in The Last Party? If they considered to make an another better Sengoku Basara 3 storyline and reboot it before they made Judge End, they should have include ALL CHARACTERS from Sengoku Basara 3 including the 6 area-warlords! Insufficient time to include them all is just an excuse. If Production I.G made The Last Party with 12 or more episodes just like how Judge End did, it would be a perfect and memorable one.

    1. Third, yes, this is by far the most abysmal moment I've ever seen in Sengoku Basara history. Tenkai's plot for reviving the Devil King, Nobunaga Oda, was just at the WRONG TIME! I repeat, WRONG TIIIME TENKAAI! Lol! Since Nobunaga is my most favorite Sengoku Basara character, I truly disappointed that they decided not to focus on the revival of Nobunaga Oda just like how he showed up in Sengoku Basara: The Last Party. They DID focused on it, but it wasn't entertaining enough! To me, it was kinda insulted that Nobunaga doesn't even make any appearances during the Sekigahara battle as he being the official final character in Sengoku Basara 3! They should have make Tenkai forming a pact with Harumasa Nanbu secretly as Harumasa has the ability to revive the dead souls and bringing back to the world of living! Why they never thought of this! And they should have let Tenkai executing his plans right after the battle between Ieyasu and Mitsunari and that would make as a surprise extend episodes! NOT during the beginning of the Sekigahara battle! Moreover, I also kinda disappointed that everyone is not surprise and shocking about the revival of the Devil King, Nobunaga Oda. Especially Mitsunari's and Ieyasu's expressions were like "What the hell? Nobunaga is coming? Oh ok...". "So Mitsuhide, you want to bring along your Lord too? Alright go ahead.". It was almost PERFECT at its BEST if Honno-ji suddenly appears after the battle between Ieyasu and Mitsunari, the cloud and the weather literally changing into a demonic black and red with thunderous striking everywhere, all Nobunaga's dead soldiers being revived by Harumasa Nanbu, who is floating in the air while constantly reviving all of them, with skulls on their faces, dried blood on their bodies, skulls being structured everywhere, Oichi keep singing her usual lullaby as she tries to call out her brother, Tenkai laughing so maniacally as he enter towards the entrance of the Honno-ji and so many epic moments that could have been done! Mitsunari, who is still in hatred and vengeance towards Ieyasu, being forced by Ieyasu to corporate and teaming up with him, to destroy the true final boss! Masamune giving his expression like "Honno-ji you say.. could it be...that old man...!", Yukimura: This sinister presence..could it be?!", Ieyasu: Even if it seems that I'll be dragged from this very spot into the realms of the dead, Nobunaga-kou, I want to face you and defeat you!" and Mitsunari: "I don't care about the distortion... Hideyoshi-sama, give me the permission to company you beyond the underworld!". And so they run towards Honno-ji, and everyone joining forces especially Magoichi, Keiji, Muneshige, Motochika, Kanbe, Tsuruhime, Shimazu, Ujimasa, Kotaro, Tadatsugu, Sasuke and Kojuro fighting off against Nobunaga's demonic soldiers. Sasuke and Kojuro teaming up against Harumasa to save Kasuga, the battle of Ninjas! It would be MORE AWESOME if they decided to bring back these 2 notable surprise characters which are Ranmaru and Nouhime with their new demonic appearances! So that we could have some dream matches that we would love to watch especially Tsuruhime VS Ranmaru and Magoichi VS Nouhime at the same time! Guns & Arrows battle! Keiji and Matsu dealing with Oichi. Ieyasu, Mitsunari, Masamune and Yukimura heading towards Nobunaga's demonic throne room, Tenkai standing there as they have some conversations after a while, and they fight to the death! Suddenly, a huge demonic sword stab Tenkai from the back, a surprise appearance of the Demon King, Nobunaga Oda! Harumasa, Tenkai and Oichi, their bodies being sacrifice by the black hands in order to fully revive Nobunaga! And so the epic legendary battle begins! Ieyasu, Mitsunari, Masamune, Yukimura, Keiji, Magoichi, Munehsige, Kanbe, Tsuruhime and Shimazu VS Nobunaga in two to three episodes!

    2. Sorry for the very long post Raindrops. My opinions and ideas just keep coming through my mind as I typing all of these words down! Lol XD I also feel kinda disappointed and frustrating as the same time though! Not to say that The Last Party has a better storyline than Judge End, but to me, both of these 2 anime has the same ratings in terms of storylines, characters and everything. In other words, I wonder how the hell Tenkai did survived from being stabbed by Nobunaga's huge demonic sword? Because I assumed that the grey hakama that appears behind Hideaki was none other than Tenkai right? Oh wait, may I know who is this person? (Sarcasm) This cutscene never even show up anywhere in Judge End! (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

    3. Haha, don't apologise for the post! I enjoyed reading it, and it's a shame that they missed the opportunity to bring dual chainsaws and whatever weapon Tadatsugu uses into the anime.

      Also, yeah, it was pretty trollish of them to put Nobunaga right in the trailer and then only show his demon instead of the real deal. If they'd had another episode to show some flashbacks to Mitsuhide and Nobunaga in the past and properly explain what happened, they could have made the Nobunaga revival plot much better instead of being one of the weakest parts of the anime. If Tenkai had been a bit smarter about how he carried out his plan, he could easily have succeeded! I also want to know how Mitsuhide managed to survive being taken out by Hideyoshi because that was probably a very interesting fight. Unless he's just immune to death. I suppose if Hideyoshi punched him through the chest like the way he was stabbed at Honnouji, it would have been natural to assume he wasn't going to get up.

      I'm secretly hoping that the next game will bring things back to the beginning with Nobunaga getting to be the 'main' villain again. It would be so fitting for the tenth anniversary if they could do some kind of Sengoku Basara All-Stars game with Masamune, Yukimura and Nobunaga on the front of the package and all of the old favourites restored (alongside the newer characters, of course). It would be the ultimate Sengoku Basara game!

  7. Of course in the end I couldn't stay away... .__.) Sorry but I think I'll to be the wet blanket again. :/ Please don't think that I'm trying to ruin your enjoyment of the show, and feel free to ignore or delete my comment if you think it's unfair or ruining the mood. ^^;;

    But I have to say, this show was a terrible shock to some of the non-anime-only people as well (and I don't only mean myself, but also a lot of people I know or am acquainted with). Terrible production values and uninspired directing aside, I thought the writing just plain sucked, all the while I had the feeling that whoever was writing this was 1) really, really bad at handling character development, 2) either not familiar with SB at all, or just didn't care. Which is all the worse because apparently JE was supervised by KobaP so I really don't get how it went off the rails like that. So often, especially in scenes lifted from the game, I had the feeling that I knew what they were trying to do but it just wasn't working because of the sloppy execution and writing. Or maybe this is how SB is supposed to be from now on and it's me doing it wrong? In any case if Capcom ever decides to make another SB anime I really hope they won't won't be using this studio and this staff, especially not the writer and the director.

    As far as I'm concerned the main/main-ish characters weren't done any justice, and the numerous side characters who were shoehorned in only to be there didn't really fare a whole lot better - sure, it could've been much worse for them, but they got stuck in completely pointless stories or reduced to cameos. I complained the most about Yukimura because he's my favorite (and before anyone thinks it's because I can't accept him being more mature or something, no, my problem was not the basic concept of what they were trying to do with him, I would've been more than OK with that - it's how his entire character arc was handled, I think it was really pathetic and the so-called character development was handled horribly), but there was also Masamune who lost all his charm and charisma (to the point where the people I know for whom this was the first introduction to SB kept wondering just why he's so special and beloved by the fans, and their impression didn't change even after he magically snapped back to something closer to his normal self due to some really sloppy "character development"), Ieyasu wasn't as complex as he could've (should've) been and maybe it's just me but in the end he still seems to have come off as being "in the wrong" in the end, while Mitsunari seems to have lost most of the darker side of his personality. The show's treatment of the Red & Blue rivalry was so bad it's like they were trying to ruin it, the Setouchi duo's conflict had such a poor set-up that even their relatively decent showdown lacked any impact and the follow-up was really weird (just when did Motochika forgive Mitsunari and Yoshitsugu, or is it like, what he doesn't know won't hurt him? where's Motonari in the final battle?), and the Sekigahara pair's conflict ended up being weirdly anticlimatic, partly due to the weird directorial choices, and partly because they fight and both lose, and then... what? what is their resolution as characters? especially Mitsunari who kept being angsty and in pain during the entire run of the series and in the very end he's fine and he's also fine with Yoshitsugu and apparently he's happily following Yukimura...?

    In the end... yes, there were some nice scenes, and at least there were some cute Keiji, Sourin, Sasuke & Kasuga and Toshiie & Matsu scenes that I liked... I just wish they had been in a better series. Too often I had the feeling that if I wasn't already familiar with these characters from other sources I wouldn't care about them at all and their story as presented in the anime.

    1. It's fine, I think even the people who enjoyed Judge End the most are able to admit it had a number of shortcomings :)

      My expectations for the writing were quite low the moment I realised that Takahashi Natsuko also worked on Moonlight Party, which was entertaining in its own way but a dreadfully silly romp most of the time. I was pleasantly surprised that Judge End (usually) managed to be more coherent in comparison... ^^;

      I see Judge End the same way as I do the various manga adaptations; some are fantastic, some are mediocre and some are just plain weird, but they're all constantly experimenting and ultimately I just like seeing more of my favourite series even if there are problems with the execution. Of course, there's the added pressure that making an anime has a much higher cost associated with it, and a bad adaptation could be perceived as running the series into the ground and ruining its chances in future. Having said that, I thought that our chances of more animated Sengoku Basara were buried forever after -The Last Party-.

      It would be wonderful if they have the opportunity to revisit Production I.G.'s team for a full blown revival of the classic anime one day, but if that's not possible I'd love for them to keep experimenting with other short stories (or Mame Sengoku Basara) to keep feeding my addiction ;_;

    2. What kind of blows my mind is that the same Takahashi Natsuko was also the head writer for Nobunaga Concerto which was a really awesome adaptation and a brilliant, coherent show that stood on its own... Although of course it probably helps that the main writing task in Nobunaga Concerto was creating a coherent digest for the manga, and that the director of that show was more experienced and apparently a lot more involved with the writing process, so I guess she had a (relatively) much easier job than with Judge End.

      In any case, I like to think that normally I'm pretty flexible and forgiving when it comes to adaptations (I did steer clear away from Moonlight Party, though ^^;; ) as long as the characters and relationships/conflicts/etc. are treated in a way that I approve, and well, I just really didn't approve of how the characters/etc. were treated in JE. :/

      I really hope that however JE will end up doing sales-wise (I've seen a lot of negative opinion about the show on the Japanese side, most of it from game fans) it won't deter a possible new anime, this time with a better studio, better staff, better budget, and more heart and fun. :(

    3. It's difficult to say exactly which staff members influenced each decision (aside from the things they've mentioned in interviews) but I'm inclined to be sympathetic towards the director. You're probably right with the theory that his relative inexperience might have been a problem; the team might have benefited from someone taking a firmer grip on the reins. I imagine he had little control over the short length and budgetary constraints which were always going to be problems (I.G.'s choice to focus on fewer leads, especially at the beginning of season one, helped a lot). Someone on the team really ought to have noticed Judge End's weirder moments during production and avoided the anticlimactic resolutions.

      Still, at the end of the day, I'm grateful that we got some fantastic things out of Judge End such as that lovely ED (I'm still not a fan of the OP), the magnificent chaos of episode 9, the mileage that the actors seem to be getting out of mentioning Masamune's "tea break" every time they're interviewed, and Seki generally being amazing. I've seen some Japanese fans criticising scripting changes from the games but the actual performances gave me goosebumps at times.

      While I clearly enjoyed the rest of the show considerably more than you did, I can see that it's a big step down from the best this series can offer and do hope they try a different approach next time to try to rekindle its appeal to a wider audience. Perhaps it would also help if it was released during a season where it's not competing with titles like Nobunaga Concerto and Bakumatsu Rock, both of which play on the same themes which made the original Sengoku Basara titles so popular with much more energy than Judge End had.


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