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 eight 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 nine 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 have been working to expand the former Toyotomi army by building alliances with the Mouri, Shimazu, Ootomo, Tachibana and Kobayakawa clans. They also sought to add former Toyotomi retainer Kuroda Kanbee to their ranks, but he has since disappeared on a personal quest to search for Fuuma Kotarou - the legendary ninja employed by the Houjou clan.
After some soul searching, the newly appointed general of the Takeda clan - Sanada Yukimura - decides that the Takeda forces will join Mitsunari's growing 'Western Army' too, bringing Uesugi Kenshin's trusted ninja Kasuga along with him. Meanwhile, Chousokabe Motochika has struck out on his own after learning that his original reasons for siding with Mitsunari were based on deception.
Elsewhere, Maeda Keiji has joined up with the powerful Saika mercenaries and the oracle Tsuruhime. After successfully rescuing Keiji's missing aunt, Matsu, the group stumbles upon a troubling new discovery: Kobayakawa Hideaki's advisor, Tenkai, has revealed himself to be Akechi Mitsuhide in disguise. He's absconded with both Kasuga and Oda Nobunaga's sister, Oichi, in his clutches. Tenkai's plan is to revive the Demon King and plunge the world into endless darkness.
With Tenkai's whereabouts currently unknown, the era's greatest warriors assemble at Sekigahara for the ultimate showdown between the Western and Eastern armies.
Episode 9: Sekigahara
The episode begins with a short, regretful narration by Ieyasu, reflecting back on the time he and Mitsunari made their pledge at Sekigahara. Both armies have gathered to face one another on either side of the huge crack in the ground.
Masamune asks Ieyasu whether this is what he wanted.
Ieyasu answers that rather than the battle, he's looking forward to what comes next.
A similar discussion is taking place far away in the Western Army command area. Yukimura can't wait to face Masamune again.
Sasuke acknowledges that Yukimura has begun to resemble Oyakata-sama.
Mitsunari, meanwhile, is beside himself with excitement now that the moment of his revenge is finally drawing closer.
The two leaders give the orders to their armies, and the battle officially begins!
Ieyasu tells Tadatsugu that he's relying on him as he heads out to fight.
Masamune and Ieyasu wait in the command area for now.
Tadatsugu is surprised when the first enemy soldiers he encounters are parading around singing on the battlefield.
It's the Ootomo army, trying to take advantage of the situation to promote the joys of Xavism.
Even Muneshige is playing the cymbals (while privately despairing).
Elsewhere on the battlefield, Kobayakawa 'Kingo' Hideaki is terrified - there's still no sign of Tenkai!
Shimazu Yoshihiro is waiting on the sidelines, looking forward to a rematch with Tadakatsu.
Fuuma Kotarou is darting across the battlefield, hotly pursued by two people for completely different reasons.
Kuroda Kanbee is convinced that Kotarou will be able to help him escape from his shackles once and for all.
Tsuruhime had been with Ieyasu at the start of the battle, but she left the moment that her beloved Kotarou was sent out.
Suddenly, a beam of blazing heat cuts through the nearby Tokugawa soldiers. It's Mouri Motonari and his secret weapon, a huge mirror.
Tsuruhime scolds Motonari...
...and is completely ignored.
Motonari is far more interested in someone else.
That 'someone' is Motonari's arch rival Chousokabe Motochika.
Motochika's enormous mobile weapon 'Akatsukimaru' lurches out of the water and joins the battle.
Intently watching the developments below, Ieyasu calls on Tadakatsu next.
But the Western Army has a plan to counter Ieyasu's powerful ally. Yoshitsugu sends a signal to the Shimazu troops.
Tadakatsu launches from the Eastern Army's camp.
And at the same time, Shimazu Yoshihiro launches himself from the hidden 'Satsuma Human Cannon' he had prepared.
Known as the 'Sengoku's Strongest', Tadakatsu is widely feared as a formidable foe.
Yoshihiro isn't afraid, though; his enemy's reputation only makes him more determined to challenge him.
The two rivals clash in mid-air.
Yoshihiro's boldness gives everyone a surprise.
Mitsunari orders the Western Army to advance but not everyone listens. Kanbee is intent on finding Kotarou and disregards the command, while Kingo remembers Ieyasu's kindness and compares it to the cruel way he's treated by Mitsunari.
On the fringe of the battlefield, Sakai Tadatsugu is no longer paying any attention to the fighting.
Sourin is staging an impromptu mid-battle confession in the guise of counselling.
Tadatsugu speaks of his sorrow over the way that Ieyasu has changed since he was a young boy.
Sourin promises him salvation through Xavi...
...and abruptly baptises him on the spot.
Tadatsugu's baptismal name is decided: 'Revolution'!
Freed from all of his worries, Tadatsugu experiences a moment of pure bliss.
His objective achieved, Sourin immediately loses interest in the main battle.
Tsuruhime is still making herself a nuisance by following Motonari. He turns his enormous mirror on her, intending to burn her to death.
It looks bleak for Tsuruhime until Motochika suddenly arrives and protects her.
Things take an even more ominous turn when Tenkai is spotted moving through the soldiers, leaving a trail of blood from wounds on his arms.
Mitsunari demands to know why Motonari, Kanbee, Sourin and Kingo aren't following their orders.
At this point, Kingo has more or less decided to do nothing at all and switched to eating his favourite nabe hotpot.
He's overjoyed when he hears word that Tenkai is nearby.
Saika Magoichi's pursuit of Tenkai has brought her, Keiji and Matsu all the way to Sekigahara. She orders her troops to disregard the war and aim straight for Tenkai - or rather, for Akechi Mitsuhide.
Full of concern for Kasuga, Sasuke heads over to Tenkai and demands to know where she is. Tenkai denies any knowledge of Kasuga and the two end up fighting.
Kingo watches with great distress as Tenkai sustains more wounds.
With a heavy heart, Kingo orders his soldiers to rescue his friend Tenkai.
Of course, this means going against his allies in the Western Army.
Mitsunari is not pleased when he hears the news.
Yukimura is surprised, but Mitsunari is barely able to control his rage at the confirmation of yet another betrayal.
Yoshitsugu curses Kingo for his actions.
Magoichi arrives on the scene with her soldiers and is horrified by what she sees.
As blood is shed, a dark miasma begins to rise up around Tenkai.
The dark miasma protects Tenkai and slowly takes the shape of dark hands.
It's Oichi, and as she comes out of hiding she finally recognises Mitsuhide for what he is.
But it's too late; the sky clouds over and Oichi becomes a pawn in Mitsuhide's evil plan.
At his command, a dark structure rises out of the crack in the ground. It appears to be Honnouji, the temple complex where Oda Nobunaga lost his life.
Mitsunari is beyond furious at this point, but Yukimura asks him to send his forces out on the battlefield.
Mitsunari calms down and gives Yukimura the order.
Over in Ieyasu's camp, Masamune tells his commander that he'll be heading out too.
The two rivals head towards the battlefield...
...and that's all for now! Next week's episode will be titled Shitou ('Fight To The Death').
Wow! This was some seriously entertaining stuff; the episode seemed to be over in an instant because so much was going on. I love that the previously-neglected characters such as Yoshihiro are finally getting a chance to show what they're really capable of in this series - even though Ujimasa and Kanbee are still out of luck with tiny roles. The thrill of the week was when probably the moment that Motochika emerged from the water in his Akatsukimaru; I'm not even a big Aniki fan but it made me shiver with excitement. Oichi's scene was magnificent too, and I wasn't expecting the odd twist with Tadatsugu at all. Well played, Sourin.
The big question left in my mind now is about Kasuga. She seemed to be alive last time we saw the Oda procession so I'm rather concerned. Please find her, Sasuke.