Monday, 1 September 2014

Magazine review: Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 6

The summer issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine is devoted to Mouri Motonari, with a brand new CG illustration of him on the front cover and an adorable Mame Sengoku Basara rubber strap.

Sengoku Basara Magazine vol. 6 was released on 27th August 2014 priced at ¥2,500. It can be purchased from most Japanese bookstores which offer international shipping, such as Amazon Japan, Yesasia, CD Japan and Manga Oh. Once new copies have sold out the prices are likely to rise as they have for the previous issues.

The talk CD this issue is the follow-up to the previous one: Showgeki Basara Talk! Ieyasu & Mitsunari No Maki Vol. 2 starring seiyuu Ookawa Tooru and Seki Tomokazu. At close to an hour, it's the longest bonus CD yet! Since the Sengoku Basara Judge End anime has now started its run, they were able to talk about it more freely than before. It's funny how different Seki sounds when he's speaking normally and not using Mitsunari's intense voice. Among other topics, they replied to questions from fans and played a 'Bonds Game' where they had to answer strange questions about the series and compare their responses. Most of their answers were completely different...

The CD's 'Basara Challenge' skit was the 'Children's Telephone Consultation Room'. It parodies a real Japanese radio show called Kodomo Denwa Soudanshitsu where children call in with questions for adults to answer on a variety of topics. The seiyuu had to pretend they were talking on the phone since there wasn't really anyone on the other end during the live recording. Ieyasu was really good at speaking to the children! He tried to guide Mitsunari through the process and prevent him from terrorising the kids, which didn't work all that well - still, the results are very funny.

Having covered all of the bonus items, it's time to take an in-depth look at the contents of the magazine itself!

The first portion of the magazine is all about the Sengoku Basara: Judge End (Sengoku Basara -Judgement-) anime series. It starts off with a picture of Mitsunari clasping Ieyasu's hand at Sekigahara then launches into a recap of the first eight episodes. The staff provide short comments at the bottom of each page.
  • Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) joked that Ieyasu would be soothed by having Tadatsugu - a warrior with such a pleasant singing voice - on his side this time.
  • Takahashi Natsuko (series composition) was pleased that they were able to give context to the scene of Shimazu Yoshihiro fighting with Honda Tadakatsu in his Sengoku Basara 3 (Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes) opening movie by incorporating it into the story.
  • Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) said the story was kept simple on purpose to allow them to include a large number of characters. He also commented that the way he plays the role of Mitsunari from now on will be influenced by seeing the way that Ieyasu and Mitsunari had such a close relationship in the past.
  • Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) described the way that Yukimura develops over the course of the story, then described his own impatience at the start. He asked fans to go easy on poor Yukimura as he struggles along the way to becoming a true leader.
  • Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki (producer of the original Sengoku Basara games) said the title of episode four ('Astray') fits Yukimura at that point in the series. He liked the scene with Kenshin interacting with Yukimura, and commented on the way that Kasuga replaces Kenshin in the main storyline when he announces that he won't get involved in the battle between the East and West (hmm, does this imply that we won't be seeing any more of Kenshin in Judge End or am I overanalysing KobaP's words?).
  • Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari) said that Motonari has more screen time in Judge End than in the older anime, and plots in the background along with Tenkai and Yoshitsugu. He joked that Motochika is as simple as ever for getting swept up in Motonari's plans so easily.
  • Takahashi Natsuko's comment on episode five was about the glimpse Tsuruhime has of the darkness which exists beneath Ieyasu's focus on 'bonds'. There will be more feelings of uncertainty as Sekigahara approaches.
  • Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) said that episode five would be a difficult one for fans who want to see Masamune being cool. He's completely unlike his usual self, acting negatively and being a sore loser. Fortunately, after episode six Masamune will be back to normal...
  • Takahashi Natsuko said that they based episode six on the game Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (Heroes). They wanted to give a sense of the strong relationships that Masamune and Yukimura have with their retainers.
There's a small relationship chart, too (Ieyasu has a lot of links to other people!) which amusingly describes Sourin's relationship to Motonari as 'Sunday!' and Yukimura's to Shingen as 'Oyakata-samaaaa!'.

The Judge End coverage continues with a pair of joint interviews. The first is with KobaP and Yamamoto 'YamamotoD' Makoto (director of the original Sengoku Basara games). Please note that I've paraphrased their responses instead of transcribing every word of the interview, but I've put the names at the start to show who made each remark. This is not a word-for-word translation.

Needless to say, this interview may contain spoilers for future episodes of Judge End.
  • YamamotoD: Although they get to see the storyboards during production, they don't see the final anime until it's about to air. They get excited watching it alongside everyone else!
  • KobaP: The realistic fighting wasn't something they requested; it was Sano Takashi's idea (he's the anime director). KobaP thinks there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches and he's looking at how it's received.
  • YamamotoD: The new anime team has contributed a lot of fresh ideas. The way that the names appear on the screen whenever a new character is first introduced is intended to help new viewers figure out who everyone is right from the start (this works a lot better in Japan where many of the characters are well-known historical figures).
  • KobaP: The recording sessions have gone smoothly; many of the actors have been playing these roles for close to ten years. While it usually takes four hours to record the dialogue for an episode of anime, there have been times with Judge End where they're done after just two hours.
  • YamamotoD: Koshimizu Ami (Tsuruhime) tends to insert her own ad-libs into the dialogue.
  • KobaP: Thanks to Koshimizu, Tsuruhime is 'explosively' lively in the anime, even more than she is in the games. Since there are so many characters in the anime, every recording session is packed with people.
  • YamamotoD: Even people who have hardly any lines still have to come in.
  • KobaP: Kaida Yuuko (Matsu) only had one line when she first appeared: "Mmph!". The sound director joked that she was a 'salary thief' (an expression meaning someone who is paid but doesn't do their work).
  • KobaP: Although the story is based around the Battle of Sekigahara, they were careful to make sure that Masamune and Yukimura had some development. Masamune had the moment showing his first battle, and Yukimura had his 'Oyakata-sama cosplay'.
  • YamamotoD: For the pair to be 'revived', they had to first be depicted as discouraged.
  • KobaP: Will Mitsunari's speech in episode eight surprise people? Ieyasu gives a speech too, of course, but for him it's normal (*laughs*).
  • YamamotoD: Yukimura lecturing Mitsunari just beforehand was a brand new scene, too.
  • KobaP: The series' climax will begin from episode nine. Although Sekigahara was depicted in the movie adaptation, the conclusion of this story will be 'completely different' to the outcome we've seen before.
  • YamamotoD: There are a lot of characters who didn't appear in the movie version, like the Ootomo and Kuroda armies.
  • KobaP: For all of the fans who are talking about deaths, look forward to what happens to Sakai Tadatsugu too (*laughs*). (Raindrops' note: !!!)
  • At the end of the interview they were both asked to highlight a scene from the anime. YamamotoD chose the end of the first episode where Mitsunari screams and we get to see that moment reflected across the whole country. The sequence seems to foreshadow the events which are about to unfold.
  • KobaP chose Sasuke and Kasuga infiltrating Osaka Castle and fighting together. He likes it when they team up so he wanted to try the scene from Sasuke's Sengoku Basara 3 Utage story with Kasuga there too.
The second interview is with seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura). Again, this is not a word-for-word translation (especially as they repeated things they said in last month's mainstream magazines).
  • Although it's a late night anime like the previous adaptation, there are 'hard' scenes where blood naturally gushes out. Hoshi thinks it gives the series a different feel.
  • Nakai said the previous series was more mainstream with people flying through the sky and billowing smoke effects. This time, the series gives the impression of 'pain'.
  • Hoshi thinks that the realism is suppressing the 'entertaining' aspects more than usual. The Sengoku Basara series usually contains both elements, but the production team probably wanted to present it differently this time.
  • Out of the eight episodes which have aired so far, the scene that Nakai thinks has had the deepest meaning was the moment in episode four when Mitsunari completely ignored Masamune.
  • Hoshi said that Masamune was special to him as Yukimura's rival. Seeing him and Kojuurou taken out so easily in the first episode and then watching Mitsunari ignoring Masamune later on gave him a big shock too!
  • Nakai joked that if that was true, he should have made Yukimura address Mitsunari at that moment and tell him "Hey, Masamune is rather strong!".
  • Hoshi replied that surely he isn't 'rather' strong; he's ridiculously strong!
  • Nakai was especially hurt that Mitsunari paid no attention to Masamune after he was the one who beat Hideyoshi in Production I.G.'s anime...
  • Going back to the topic, Hoshi said he would have chosen the same scene that Nakai did. When Yukimura was fighting Masamune, he must have had empathy for him but he had to fight him as he was on Mitsunari's side. It was exceptionally dramatic.
  • Hoshi also liked the scene in the teahouse in episode eight.
  • Nakai: "Tea break."
  • Hoshi laughed and continued; he enjoyed the relaxed moment with Masamune and Yukimura drinking tea together and chatting. There's more to the two of them than simply doing battle.
  • On the topic of favourite lines, Nakai chose Masamune telling Mitsunari that he was going to kill him because it was so different to the usual battle scenes. Even though the series is full of people trying to defeat one another, murderous hatred doesn't come up very often.
  • Hoshi pointed out that he said he would kill Yukimura too, then he ended up inviting him to drink tea.
  • Nakai said that Masamune had lost sight of his usual self when he was saying those things.
  • Hoshi chose the "Oyakata-samaaaaaa!" lines from the first episode as his favourite. They agreed that it was important to have that exchange in the first episode so that viewers would know they were watching Sengoku Basara. Nakai said that it gave a sense that the story was about to begin. It's lonely now that the exchanges of punches have stopped.
  • Koyasu Takehito (Sarutobi Sasuke) creates a fun atmosphere in the recording sessions by teasing Genda Tesshou (Takeda Shingen). The two end up bickering and it lightens the mood. It was sad when Genda left the sessions after episode three.
  • Hoshi is grateful for the group recording sessions. When they record for the game, they do it alone and he has to keep shouting and roaring, whereas this way he takes turns with the others when they're performing their lines. He thinks it brings out the best in Yukimura's voice.
  • Nakai likes it too; he feels more relaxed when he's performing with Hoshi as he can let his performance be guided by their dialogue.
  • As for what they want to see happening in Sengoku Basara Judge End from episode nine onwards, both actors want Masamune and Yukimura to have a proper battle now they've dealt with their problems.
  • Nakai wants to hear fans calling out "Hittou!" even decades into the future when the series has long since ended; Masamune is now an inseparable part of him. Hoshi said he felt the same way about Yukimura.
  • There's a small comment on one of the photographs which says that when Masamune was in the middle of his slump at the start of the anime, Nakai determinedly said "We mustn't lose to the new characters!". Hoshi laughed and gave the comeback "Ieyasu and Mitsunari aren't exactly new characters any more!". Does Nakai still view them both as rookies?
After all of that Judge End coverage, the magazine's contents page comes next with the full version of the new Motonari render from the front cover. It's then time for the Mouri Motonari articles to begin!

--

The first feature is a joint interview with Motonari's seiyuu Nakahara Shigeru and stage play actor Kotani Yoshikazu. They've both dressed up smartly for the photographs, several of which show them posing with doughnuts which resemble Motonari's joke weapon in Sengoku Basara 4. The height difference between the two men is startling.
  • Nakahara first saw Kotani when he played Motonari in the Butai Sengoku Basara 3 ~Setouchi Kyouran~ stage play. He remembers thinking "Ah, it's the real Motonari." in surprise when he came on stage.
  • Kotani first heard Nakahara's performance when he was playing the game. This was after he'd been cast as Motonari in the stage play. His initial thought was "There's no way I can make my voice sound as cool as this!!".
  • They joked about how the had preconceptions about one another before meeting. Since Motonari sounds so proud, Kotani had wondered whether Nakahara was like that too.
  • Nakahara pointed out that Kotani seems gentle in person and completely different when he's on stage. The interviewer agreed that they are both very different to Motonari in real life.
  • During the official fan meetings earlier this year, both of them were scheduled to attend different events. Kotani recorded a special message for Nakahara asking to go out for a drink with him (they still haven't managed to get around to it, apparently).
  • There were requests for the stage play series to incorporate the scene where Motonari steps on Kingo in Sengoku Basara 3. Kotani finds it oddly stressful to do villainous things while Nakahara is much more pragmatic about it.
  • When Kotani is standing on stage, he can't help but feel uneasy because he's personally acting out the bad things Motonari does. To keep himself focused, he listened to Nakahara's performances as Motonari throughout the stage play's run.
  • Nakahara thinks that Motonari's charm lies in his aloofness.
  • Kotani agrees. He thinks that Motonari is a pure person since he does everything for the sake of protecting his land. He also brought up Motonari's softer Xavist side. Kotani's first impression was that Motonari was simply cruel, but he's ended up becoming his favourite character.
  • When Nakahara was recording the dialogue for the anime's bonus Mini Sengoku Basara Chousokabe-kun To Mouri-kun episodes, he was instructed to use the same tone of voice as normal even though the characters looked much cuter. He thought the incongruity was interesting.
  • Whenever Motochika doesn't appear in the stage plays, Motonari has a lot of monologues and mostly interacts with Yoshitsugu. At times like that, Kotani thinks that Motonari and Motochika have a symbiotic relationship, each thriving thanks to the other.
  • Nakahara asked him whether he got lonely when Motochika wasn't there, and Kotani joked that he did.
  • When Nakahara said that Motochika is always surprised by falling into one of Motonari's traps, Kotani added that he thinks Motonari enjoys having to deal with him.
  • Kotani was surprised when Yagami Ren was selected for the role of Motochika in Butai Sengoku Basara 3: Togakuruwashi Kizuna. He's known Yagami for a while and he has a ditzy personality, nothing like Motochika's rough, husky-voiced attitude. However, he was impressed at the way that Yagami was able to completely transform into Motochika when on stage.
  • Nakahara teased that Kotani is ditzy too, so it's appropriate that both members of the 'Setouchi combo' have that trait in common.
  • Kotani can't wait to trick Motochika even more in future.
  • Nakahara talked about his long relationship with Ishino Ryuuzou (Motochika's voice actor). He described Ishino as a multitalented person who could do absolutely anything; Nakahara once went to his house for a party and Ishino cooked all of the food himself.
  • Kotani revealed that the stage play team is very close and he often goes out for meals or bowling sessions with the others. He attended a barbecue with Yagami, Nitta Kenta (Ootani Yoshitsugu), Yokoyama Masafumi (Kuroda Kanbee), Hirose Yuusuke (Tokugawa Ieyasu) and Nakamura Seijirou (Ishida Mitsunari).
  • He has a very close relationship with Nakamura. They've known one another for a long time and they're like brothers.
  • Although a lot of stage actors can perform sword fights, Kotani thinks that Nakamura is unique in being able to pull off very quick movements. Nakahara said that the first time he saw Mitsunari in the stage plays he thought that his fighting and iai skills were supernatural.
  • Kotani had to train with Motonari's rintou weapon a lot to get used to it and prevent it from hitting his helmet. He worries that people probably thought he was crazy when he was practising such strange things, but he's proud to be able to say that he now knows how to avoid hitting himself with the ring.
  • There are moments in the plays where he has to throw the weapon high into the air and then catch it, too. Kotani says that the stage lighting means he can't always see the ring's path, so even now it's a frightening move.
  • Some of the new moves they come up with for the stage plays are inspired by watching rhythmic gymnastics routines. It's tough because the rintou is so different to a normal sword.
  • Changing the subject, Nakahara has been into cycling on his Brompton folding bicycle lately, and running in places like Kamakura and Yokohama.
  • Kotani has been into hoarding ¥500 coins. He uses a savings box which is designed to hold ¥3,000,000 in ¥500 coins. He realised that he had no hobbies a year ago.
  • Recently, Kotani has started going on trips alone. His first excursion was to New York; next time he's looking at trying Los Angeles and Europe.
  • Nakahara is a fan of solo travel too. He always stays in Japan, but he used to travel around a lot in the past and relax in hotels rather than sightseeing.
  • Nakahara is just as excited as the fans are waiting to see what KobaP has in store for everyone next!
  • Kotani finished by promising that even if he's saying things like "Sacrificial pawns" and "Burn!" on stage, he's really full of gratitude and loves his role.
Next comes the 'Motonari Chronicle' where YamamotoD travels back in time to look at Motonari's history in the Sengoku Basara series.
  • As with Motochika, YamamotoD had wanted Motonari to be playable from the beginning, but due to time constraints he was an NPC in the first game.
  • The two themes he had in mind when creating Motonari were that he would worship the the sun and be a ruthless tactician.
  • They didn't have much time to work on Sengoku Basara 2 after finishing the first game so it was really tough.
  • In Sengoku Basara 2, Motonari battles with clever warriors like Shingen and Hanbee, but there's a scene where Hanbee says that Motonari's cruel facial expression looks fake to him.
  • While Sengoku Basara 2 highlighted Motonari's ruthless side, they focused on his stubborn devotion to maintaining peace for the land of Aki in Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes so the Setouchi region was the most important to him. Motochika was Motonari's final boss in the earlier game, but in Battle Heroes he goes straight to Motochika and defeats him in the first round to protect his homeland.
  • In Sengoku Basara 3, Motonari acts as a mastermind behind the chaos and tricks many people such as Yoshitsugu and Motochika. You could say the story shows his true colours.
  • He spends a lot of time with Yoshitsugu and both of them have some kind of weakness.
  • The ending where Yoshitsugu curses Motonari is a reference to an anecdote about the real Yoshitsugu putting a curse on Kobayakawa Hideaki.
  • Motonari has a number of ties to Ashikaga Yoshiteru in Sengoku Basara 4. He becomes unusually emotional about Ashikaga, but Ashikaga isn't the kind of person that Motonari can judge with his usual lines of reasoning.
  • Motochika and Motonari didn't appear much in the original Sengoku Basara anime aside from a brief scene in the twelfth episode. In exchange, they had a lot of scenes in the bonus OAV episode and in the Mini Sengoku Basara Chousokabe-kun To Mouri-kun shorts. Having them linked with the Maeda family in the bonus episode was a unusual combination.
  • Both characters had a much larger role in the Sengoku Basara II anime. Motonari worked behind the scenes and saw through Hanbee's schemes, becoming the final boss for one of the main characters in the end. His role was very important.
  • Motonari's most comical role was in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage where he was brainwashed into getting involved with the Xavist cult again by Sourin. In Motonari's case, the baptismal name 'Sunday Mouri' seems to make something snap in his mind (*laughs*).
  • He doesn't care about his sacrificial pawns at all, but when it comes to himself he wants to have something to believe in - whether it's the sun or Xavism.
  • Motonari's ruthless face hides a frail heart, susceptible to manipulation by the Xavists.
There's a two-page spread dedicated to the six people who have significant ties to Motonari in the series: Motochika, Yoshitsugu, Hanbee, Yoshiteru, Tsuruhime and Sourin.
  • YamamotoD thinks of Motonari, Hanbee and Yoshitsugu as being the resourceful commanders of the series. It's interesting to look at their weak points; Hanbee and Yoshitsugu devote everything they have to their friends (i.e. Hideyoshi and Mitsunari), but Motonari is quite different. He's not working for the sake of another person at all; instead he's doing everything for the sake of 'things' like the sun and his homeland.
This leads in to a strange page titled Sunday Mouri's Room Of Love, which examines all of his interactions with the Xavist cult since Sengoku Basara 2.

A new feature comes next; Only YamamotoD Knows!? The Heroes' Inside Stories: Mouri Motonari Edition. It's an annotated picture of Motonari with facts about him dotted all over the page. They're written by YamamotoD and not entirely serious (in case that wasn't obvious).

Q. Does he have any hobbies?
A. Scheming. Bonsai might suit him too...

Q. What was he like as a child?
A. His personality was the same as it is now, I imagine.

Q. Why do the soldiers in the Mouri army work for him? What must the soldiers think of him?
A. I think that Motonari is usually an excellent ruler. He normally governs well, when he's thinking of nothing but Aki. However, since he's burdened with the responsibilities of his position, he can't stand weak people - and that's reflected in his callousness. The soldiers know that Aki is at peace because Motonari is the way that he is.

Q. What's his least favourite 'type'?
A. Men who want to settle everything with 'passion'. People like that are really irritating, as are those who ruin all of his plans, and guys who interrupt him... in other words, CHOUSOKABE MOTOCHIKA!

Q. What determines whether he becomes a Xavist?
A. He must have been brainwashed and had his weak points cleverly exploited. Since it can't be said that he's never emotionally vulnerable, I think that must have been when he was targeted. The Xavists are deplorable.

Q. If he unifies the land, what will he do next?
A. Spend his days peacefully in Aki. He's fine even if he doesn't talk to anyone, so long as light shines down on Aki.

Q. What's his favourite food?
A. I think he prefers things like vegetables and fish to meat. It should be possible to cleanly separate the fish from its bones.

Q. Why is his colour green?
A. For photosynthesis (*laughs*)? It's also said that the colour green provides a sense of 'balance', and it might help Motonari keep his composure.

Q. What's his daily life like?
A. It's a peaceful life. There are days where he doesn't say a single word to anyone else. At times like that, he talks to himself...

Q. What's his most precious treasure?
A. THE LAND OF AKI!!

Q. How does he fake Himiko's voice?
He uses light refraction, and then by doing this, and then that (*sweatdrop*)... I'm sorry. I don't really understand it.

The Motonari coverage ends with two beautiful tribute illustrations. Samurai Drive artist Kosumi Fujiko depicts Motonari and Motochika clashing in soft hues, while Mizuno Sao has chosen to show him defending himself from an attack by an adorable-looking Tsuruhime.

--

A short photo report from the Butai Sengoku Basara 3: Togakuruwashi Kizuna stage play leads into the usual merchandise roundup. The only new release that I spotted was a collection of four new acrylic pass cases featuring the new CG renders from Sengoku Basara Magazine. There will be cases for Masamune, Mitsunari, Motonari and Motochika (Ieyasu and Yukimura didn't receive new artwork with their issues of the magazine). They will cost ¥1,296 apiece when they're released on 27th October 2014.

To celebrate the recent release of the Sengoku Basara 4 Basara Matsuri 2014 ~Shinshun No Utage~ event DVD, there's a short interview with Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie).
  • Sengoku Basara 4 hadn't yet been released at the time of the event, so Okamoto was anxious about what kind of reception Katsuie would get from all of the fans. He was delighted when everyone welcomed him warmly.
  • There were a number of veteran seiyuu at the event and out of all of them it was his first time meeting Ikeda Shuuichi (Ashikaga Yoshiteru). He'd heard Yoshiteru's theme music playing in the game already, but when he heard Ikeda's acting live with the music in the background, Okamoto was moved to tears.
  • The live Sengoku Basara 4 gameplay challenge left the strongest impression on him out of all of the activities. They had a dressing room set up with the game backstage and he was there the most!
  • Although he didn't feature in the gameplay challenge on stage, Miki Shinichirou (Gotou Matabee) played Sengoku Basara 4 backstage a lot too. He said it was the first time he'd played that kind of game in ages.
  • Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) was another guest who had joined in with the gaming backstage. Okamoto said that he hadn't managed to pull off any impressive moves when practising but when he went on stage he was suddenly pretty good.
  • When the cast did their original recordings for the game Okamoto was on his own, so he loved hearing the voices of the other actors on stage with him for the live performance segments.
  • The game has lots of unique characters who are both cool and interesting. The impact of Miki's performance in particular was scary (Raindrops' note: I thought so too!). During the ending, Miki was sitting down on the floor, and Okamoto thought that he created the same kind of atmosphere that Sengoku Basara 4's Matabee would have if he was real.
  • For future events, Okamoto has wondered about trying to create his own 'call and response' routine to interact with the fans like Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika) and Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari). He's considered shouting "What's my name?" in the hope that everyone will respond with "It's Kaiou!".
  • On the subject of Katsuie's charms, Okamoto thinks that he's a completely passive guy who starts off with nothing, reacting to the people he meets along the way. Because of this, he matures a lot over the course of the game. It makes playing Katsuie interesting for a voice actor because of the way he develops as his routes progress.
After that, there's a new feature called BasaRanking. They've moved the magazine poll results to their own page to allow more space; this is great! The extra space means they can publish much more detailed results, and they've chosen creative questions which show a lot of variety in the responses.

Which character's route in Sengoku Basara 4 made you laugh the most?

1. Yamanaka Shikanosuke (anime route)
2. Ootomo Sourin (drama route)
3. Sanada Yukimura (drama route)
4. Gotou Matabee (creation route)
4. Tenkai (creation route)
6. Maeda Keiji (drama route)
6. Yamanaka Shikanosuke (drama route)
8. Ootomo Sourin (creation route)
9. Azai Nagamasa (creation route)
10. Sarutobi Sasuke (creation route)

The staff commented that the top of the ranking is dominated by characters who focus on humour, as they'd anticipated. Newcomer Shikanosuke and Sourin both managed to place in the top ten list twice, but Shikanosuke's anime route was the decisive winner. The staff highlighted Maeda Keiji's drama route in sixth place, saying that its serious story was alleviated by a funny ending.

Which fifth weapon (joke weapon) in Sengoku Basara 4 is your favourite?

1. Mouri Motonari
2. Ishida Mitsunari
3. Katakura Kojuurou
4. Shima Sakon
5. Date Masamune
6. Fuuma Kotarou
7. Shibata Katsuie
8. Chousokabe Motochika
9. Sarutobi Sasuke
10. Gotou Matabee

It was a close battle for the top rankings and half of the weapons chosen are based on food! The staff pointed out that Motonari's doughnut also featured in the interview earlier in this issue.

The next issue is focusing on rankings for Motochika and Motonari. For both characters, the staff have requested that fans name which storylines are their favourites in the entire series, which of their lines they like most, which other characters people want to see feature in their stories and which of their scenes are the best.

A side effect of moving all of the rankings away from the letters page is that there's a lot more fan art than usual on display in the gallery.

--

Serialised manga fills most of the rest of the magazine, starting with the first of the two Mame Sengoku Basara 4 (Shucchouban) stories that Sumeragi has drawn this time. The first gives a detailed look at how Katsuie went from being a downtrodden Oda general to helping Kojuurou tend vegetables in Oushuu. It summarises the story from the actual game so new readers should find it very helpful.

Part three of Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen prequel comes next, this time showing how the young Masamune didn't like Kojuurou at all when they first met. Yoshihara's version of Kojuurou has long hair and a fierce look in his eye; Bontenmaru is in for a rough time if he doesn't stop acting like a brat soon...

The third manga is Tane Jugou's silly Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara and its extra 4-panel joke strips. Dog-Yukimura has invited people to the Takeda Dojo, only to find that Cat-Naotora has moved in while he was away. Most of the bonus strips are about Cat-Motonari and his relationships with other members of the cast.

The second chapter of Mame Sengoku Basara 4 (Shucchouban) finishes off the manga section of the book. This time, it tells the true(?) story of how Motonari stole Motochika's grand Hyakki Fugaku fortress in Sengoku Basara 4 when Motochika ran into problems with the contract he'd negotiated with Saika Magoichi.

The final two columns are placed in between the manga again. KobaP's Kobayashi HiroyukiP No Kyou Mo Basara Na Hi diary starts off with an apology to fans who live outside the broadcast area for Sengoku Basara Judge End. They can still watch it online, but he knows it's not the same. He's happy that some people are enjoying aspects of the new anime even though it's very different to the Production I.G. adaptation.

KobaP said he'd recently spoken to Koshimizu Ami (Tsuruhime) and Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji) about their visit to the American convention Anime Expo 2014 back in July. They told him that even though the event had nothing to do with the Sengoku Basara series, both seiyuu had met fans who asked them questions about Judge End. KobaP was amazed to hear that fans overseas had been looking forward to the new anime as well (good job, fans!).

He also talked about his excitement about the upcoming stage play and fan events after the relatively lonely summer he'd been having, and said that he isn't yet able to talk about the plans for next year's celebrations for the tenth anniversary of Sengoku Basara. They've made various preparations and we have to wait just a little longer before they're ready to reveal them.

The second column is YamamotoD's column about the real history behind the Sengoku Basara designs. Chousokabe Motochika has been chosen this time, which seems odd; the column is usually about the more obscure characters and Aniki already a huge feature article in the previous issue.
  • Right at the very beginning of the design process, Yamamoto thought about Motochika's two nicknames: Himewako (Little Princess) and Oniwako (Little Demon).
  • As a child, Motochika was dubbed 'Himewako' and treated like a fool because of his timid personality.
  • During his first battle, he asked one retainer how to use a spear and was given the answer that a spear was for stabbing the enemy in the eyes. Although the retainers were appalled by the carefree question, they were shocked when Motochika went along with those words and thrust at the surrounding enemy soldiers during his first battle.
  • After this brave feat, he was treated as a true warrior and nicknamed 'Oniwako'.
  • There's an anecdote about the way that the real Motochika saved a special manjuu cake given to him by Hideyoshi so that he could take it home and share it with his retainers. This is why the game's version of Motochika is so considerate towards his men.
  • There's a reference to the way that Motochika used to play a pipe alone in Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes. Rather than being about the time when he was known as Himewako, this was actually based on a story about Morichika, Motochika's fourth son who headed the clan after Motochika's death. The Chousokabe clan collapsed after the loss at Sekigahara and Morichika ended up leading a quiet life in Kyoto as a teacher at a temple school until he sided with the Toyotomi forces in the fighting at Osaka Castle. He fought bravely, and after the battle was lost he was executed. The image of Morichika teaching at the temple school inspired the story in the game.
  • There were various pirate lords in the Setouchi region historically, and YamamotoD had an image in mind of a fight against Hideyoshi with the inland sea as the backdrop. He brought these ideas together and made Motochika a pirate. In reality, Motochika was more like a bandit than a pirate...
  • Many of his interpersonal relationships in the series are based on real life events; he had hostile relationships with the Toyotomi, Iyokouno and Mouri armies. His alliance with the Saika-shuu comes from history too.
  • Just as Kuroda Kanbee is linked to the attack on Shikoku in Sengoku Basara 3, the real Kanbee participated in the invasion of Shikoku while Motochika ruled the region.
  • Motochika's love of mechanical inventions was a hobby that YamamotoD gave him to represent his childish side.
  • Motochika's ending in Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes had him talking about the 'dawn' when his current invention would be complete, then in Sengoku Basara 3 his mechanical weapon was called the Akatsukimaru ('akatsuki' means 'dawn'). This wasn't really planned, but it ended up being interesting (YamamotoD laughed at this).
  • Ishino Ryuuzou (Motochika's seiyuu) is so enthusiastic when he performs that he's suffered a nosebleed from yelling during recording sessions.
  • YamamotoD wants to include more stories exploring Motochika's relationship with his arch-enemy Motonari in future. They've clashed a lot in the past, but he thinks there's still more they can show even though he doesn't have any specific ideas in mind. Next time around he'd like to include more links between them than there were in Sengoku Basara 4.
Aside from a sample from the Sengoku Basara 4: Ryuuou-Kamewari-hen novel and some ads, this wraps up this issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine. The next issue will be released on 27th November 2014 with Shima Sakon on the cover and rubber strap. There will be a retrospective feature on Sengoku Basara: Judge End and a report about the Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play. Just like this time, the manga serialisations will be Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 4 (Shucchouban), Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4: Bontenmaru-hen and Tane Jugou's Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara. Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika) and Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari) will feature on the Showgeki Basara Talk! Motochika & Motonari No Maki Vol. 1 CD.

--

This issue seemed to have far more manga than any other kind of coverage, along with a lot of interviews. With Judge End being the only project running at the moment, I guess there isn't much news to report. Still, I'm looking forward to the stage play details which should start appearing over the next couple of months (and hopefully, a few big announcements from Capcom when they're ready to reveal next year's special treats)!

1 comment:

I'm really sorry that I had to switch on authentication for comments. The blog had started to receive dozens of spam comments each week. I hope that this new setting will help!