Friday 31 October 2014

Today's acquisitions (31st October 2014)

My updates might be sporadic for a little while so here are the things which arrived in the last week or so - it's been difficult to keep up with blogging during this busy period at work!

First up, it's Anime Limited's Gurren Lagann: Ultimate Edition Blu-ray box set. This is the first time I have bought a local BD release that was region locked, so I had to pick up a cheap BD drive at the same time to be able to play it. This is how it looks when it's all packed up in its outer sleeve (an o-card). It's nice that Anime Limited have started doing this so that they can conform to the legal requirement to show the BBFC age rating and marketing information without ruining the packaging inside, much like the obi slips commonly used for Japanese releases.

The next picture shows how it looks without the sleeve. There's a chipboard art box with a wraparound illustration (left), the Digipak with the actual Blu-ray discs (centre) and a hardback art book (right). Not bad!

There are three video glitches in the set from the masters Anime Limited were sent (thanks, Aniplex), but given how much cheaper this is than buying the Japanese set it suits me fine. I paid £80, which isn't a bad price for the entire series, the movies and the Parallel Works extras.

Next is the New Directors From Japan Blu-ray/DVD set. It was a Kickstarter project which managed to meet its goal and deliver the finished discs without any drama at all, making it the most no-nonsense Kickstarter effort I have ever contributed to. I hope that Third Window Films will consider launching more niche projects this way; it's a fantastic opportunity to get region-free Blu-ray produced for films which would otherwise never see release in the west. I'm looking forward to watching them shortly.

My backlog of Japanese books suddenly increased when this old batch of preorders from Honto arrived. The first picture includes all five existing volumes of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun - a must-buy after the fantastic anime adaptation. They're accompanied by the Diabolik Lovers: More, Blood Sakamaki-hen Prequel manga and both halves of the ridiculous-looking Mahou Shoujo Ore. I don't know how I'm ever going to find the time to read all of these books...

The third BASARA CLUB Press newsletter arrived too, with a Halloween-themed cover drawn by Mikami.

Last but not least, Gekijouban Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- Official Illustration Collection II and the first volume of the Mame Sengoku Basara 4 manga by Sumeragi.

I'll talk about Mame Sengoku Basara 4 later in a proper review (spoilers: it's really cute!) but since I will probably never have time to post about each individual art book at my current pace, here's an overview of what to expect if you purchase Gekijouban Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- Official Illustration Collection II.

As the title implies, this book collects all of the leftover materials and illustrations which Production I.G. produced since the previous Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- art collection. There are some pictures which relate to the television series too, and others which have nothing to do with either the movie or television versions, such as the illustrations Ookubo Tooru produced to promote various regional festivals in the Touhoku area.

The first 47 pages are full colour illustrations from posters, merchandise, guide books and other sources, and if you love the anime art style these alone make the book worthwhile. A few design sketches from Mini Sengoku Basara break up the serious poses nicely.

The next feature is a long 'commentary' on Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- from director Nomura Kazuya, screenplay creator Mutou Yasuyuki and character designer Ookubu Tooru, which is a group interview where they go through all of the movie's key scenes and add their comments. This feature includes storyboards and script excerpts for a few scenes which never made it into the finished film. These were the climax of the fight between Kenshin and Shingen at Kawanakajima, the Maeda family sharing a meal with Keiji, Ieyasu and Motochika, and some expanded character development for Yukimura after he's forced to deal with his new responsibilities. All three would have been nice additions in the finished movie, especially the exposition at Kawanakajima. It's a shame that the storyboards were never animated in the end.

The final pages of the art book are dedicated to a more general interview with the three staff members.

Given how text-heavy it is, this book is probably for serious The Last Party fans or Japanese-speakers only, but if you want a decent collection of the rarer illustrations used for the anime box sets and you're crazy about Ookubo's art it's a good buy.

News roundup: Butai Sengoku Basara 4 begins its run today

The first pictures of the Butai Sengoku Basara 4 cast start to appear

The Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play will open for its first audiences later tonight in Japan, but since they held the final dress rehearsal yesterday we finally have an opportunity to get a sneak peak at the actors in their costumes! The celebrities and industry guests who were invited to the dress rehearsal seem to have enjoyed the experience.

I'm sure more pictures will appear in the morning but for now, here are some samplers courtesy of @shimazushintaro, @mihashireiko, @yanaikeiko and Conpetti. There are also some tiny pictures on the show's merchandise page now that it's been updated with more photographs.

It's difficult to judge how well the costumes work from still photographs - it's an extremely kinetic series - but I still enjoyed checking them out. Katsuie's armour looks great, especially in the shot on Conpetti. It looks as though they've actually made it look iridescent instead of compromising with dark green.

Edit: 4Gamer, Gamer and Famitsu have now posted full reports with galleries, and the Conpetti link above has added extra pictures. Fujita Ray posted a candid backstage shot of Sakon and Katsuie on Twitter, too.

A live viewing event will be held for the stage play's grand finale

The official Butai Sengoku Basara 4 website has confirmed that a live viewing will be taking place at 13:00 on 7th December 2014 to enable fans to watch the stage play's grand finale in 26 cinemas across Japan. The tickets for the finale have been sold out for a while, as have tickets for most other dates - the website hasn't updated to show the ticket availability recently but it's now impossible to purchase tickets for many of the shows. Thanks to the live viewing, people who can't travel to one of the four cities hosting Butai Sengoku Basara 4 can still see the stage play performed live without having to wait for the eventual DVD release. Basara Club members can purchase their tickets starting from today for ¥3,600; everyone else has to wait until general sales commence later on.

More guests are announced for next year's Basara Matsuri

The third group of stage play guests has now been announced for February's huge Basara Matsuri event:

Sakurada Kousei (Azai Nagamasa)
Tamaki Nami (Oichi)
Nitta Kenta (Ootani Yoshitsugu)

In addition, there are a couple of new seiyuu guests:

Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) will be at the afternoon performance only.
Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) will be at the evening performance only.

The website promises that there are still more announcements to come! I'm guessing we'll get the next update in the second half of November since they'll want to publicise the event again around the time that the general ticket sales are beginning.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

News roundup: Preorder details - and another lottery is coming next year

The Sengoku Basara series will feature in a new Ichiban Kuji prize draw next year

The smaller Ichiban Kuji V: Sengoku Basara Judge End ~The Battle of Sekigahara~ prize lottery isn't even going to begin for another couple of weeks, and already eagle-eyed Japanese fans have spotted something even more interesting scheduled for February next year.

The excitement began when it was discovered that the Kujimap website had posted details for an event titled Ichiban Kuji: Sengoku Basara Part 2. This hasn't been formally announced yet, but these early reveals tend to be accurate and there's already a detailed list of proposed prizes which has been updated over the course of the day.

A rank prize: Date Masamune 'real' figure
B rank prize: Date Masamune 'Kyun-Chara' figure
C rank prize: Ishida Mitsunari 'Kyun-Chara' figure
D rank prize: Shima Sakon 'Kyun-Chara' figure
E rank prize: Shibata Katsuie 'Kyun-Chara' figure
F rank prize: Hand towel (four different designs)
G rank prize: Notelets (four different designs)
H rank prize: 'Stylish' rubber strap (seven different designs)
I rank prize: 'Extreme' rubber strap (seven different designs)
Last One prize: Date Masamune 'real' figure (Last One version)

This could just be me reading too much into the timing and the choice to feature the Sengoku Basara 4 leads again, but the first Ichiban Kuji: Sengoku Basara lottery was held during January 2014 to coincide with the game's big release. This one is planned for late February 2015, and once again it seems game-related. Given that Basara Matsuri is going to be held at the beginning of February, could this be part of a media push to highlight a new game - perhaps the expansion to Sengoku Basara 4 that many of us have been hoping for?

If so, it's possible we'll be hearing the first news about a new game in the next couple of months so that Capcom can build up the hype ready to give the audience a preview at Basara Matsuri.

It's nothing more than my gut feeling but I don't think that the series is popular enough right now to justify another countrywide lottery event without it being part of a bigger plan. With the curtain rising on the Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play this weekend, I'm going to be keeping my fingers crossed for new announcements soon.

And in the meantime, I'm going to be worrying about how to get my hands on those Sakon and Katsuie prize figures...

(If you want to know more about Japan's Ichiban Kuji draws, I once posted a short description here which explains how they work.)

Preorders open for the next issue of Sengoku Basara Magazine

The next volume of Sengoku Basara Magazine can now be preordered through Amazon Japan, so we can expect the listing to appear elsewhere very soon. Volume seven of the magazine will be released on 27th November 2014. Amazon currently has it mislabelled as volume six but the dates all match up to the next issue, which is supposed to be featuring Shima Sakon as its cover star.

Even more Mame Sengoku Basara goods will be released next month

According to Japanese fan @yukimurabo, this month's issue of Dengeki Maoh has confirmed that there will be more Mame Sengoku Basara and Sengoku Basara Magazine merchandise coming from Dengeki on 27th November 2014.

On the Mame Sengoku Basara side, there will be wooden straps (¥600) and chirimen crepe mirrors (¥800) featuring a choice of Masamune, Mitsunari, Yukimura, Ieyasu, Keiji, Sakon, Katsuie, Shikanosuke and Matabee illustrations. The new CG illustrations from Sengoku Basara Magazine are going to feature on acrylic pass cases with Masamune, Mitsunari, Motochika and Motonari designs (¥1,200).

More details appear for the next Sengoku Basara Judge End Blu-ray/DVD

The VAP website has updated to confirm more about the specifications of the Sengoku Basara Judge End discs. I'm going to take the opportunity to recap everything we know so far about the individual volumes since the information is spread out over so many different posts.

Sengoku Basara Judge End: I

Release date: 24th September 2014
Catalogue number: VPXY-71336 (Blu-ray) / VPBY-14329 (DVD)
Price: ¥5,800 (Blu-ray) / ¥4,800 (DVD)
Blu-ray specification: Colour, Stereo, Linear PCM 2.0, 16:9 1080p HD
DVD specification: Colour, Stereo, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital 2.0ch
Run time: 70 minutes (not including extras)
Contents: Sengoku Basara Judge End episodes 1-3, textless opening/ending videos, and an audio commentary with Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune), Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) and Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki.
First press bonuses: Exclusive Masamune/Kojuurou keychain and episodes 1-3 of Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio show on CD, with a bonus episode featuring seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune).

Sengoku Basara Judge End: II

Release date: 22nd October 2014
Catalogue number: VPXY-71337 (Blu-ray) / VPBY-14330 (DVD)
Price: ¥5,800 (Blu-ray) / ¥4,800 (DVD)
Blu-ray specification: Colour, Stereo, Linear PCM 2.0, 16:9 1080p HD
DVD specification: Colour, Stereo, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital 2.0ch
Run time: 70 minutes (not including extras)
Contents: Sengoku Basara Judge End episodes 4-6, and an audio commentary with Ishino Ryuuzou (Chousokabe Motochika), Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari) and animation producer Itou Kouhei.
First press bonuses: Exclusive Yukimura/Sasuke keychain and episodes 4-6 of Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio show on CD, with a bonus episode featuring seiyuu Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu).

Sengoku Basara Judge End: III

Release date: 26th November 2014
Catalogue number: VPXY-71338 (Blu-ray) / VPBY-14331 (DVD)
Price: ¥5,800 (Blu-ray) / ¥4,800 (DVD)
Blu-ray specification: Colour, Stereo, Linear PCM 2.0, 16:9 1080p HD
DVD specification: Colour, Stereo, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital 2.0ch
Run time: 70 minutes (not including extras)
Contents: Sengoku Basara Judge End episodes 7-9, and an audio commentary with Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji), Hayami Shou (Tenkai) and sound director Iwanami Yoshikazu.
First press bonuses: Exclusive Ieyasu/Tadatsugu keychain and episodes 7-9 of Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio show on CD, with a bonus episode featuring seiyuu Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji).

Sengoku Basara Judge End: IV

Release date: 24th December 2014
Catalogue number: VPXY-71339 (Blu-ray) / VPBY-14332 (DVD)
Price: ¥5,800 (Blu-ray) / ¥4,800 (DVD)
Blu-ray specification: Colour, Stereo, Linear PCM 2.0, 16:9 1080p HD
DVD specification: Colour, Stereo, 16:9 LB, Dolby Digital 2.0ch
Run time: 70 minutes (not including extras)
Contents: Sengoku Basara Judge End episodes 10-12, and an audio commentary with Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) and Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu).
First press bonuses: Exclusive Mitsunari/Yoshitsugu keychain and episodes 10-12 of Hoshi Souichirou and Seki Tomokazu's 'Sengoku Basara: Judge End' Radio show on CD, with a bonus episode featuring seiyuu Nakahara Shigeru (Mouri Motonari).

Every volume will come packed in an illustrated Digipak with a booklet. Whether you loved Judge End or hated it, these discs are a great deal for seiyuu fans.

For those more interested in the visual side, there's also a preview of the exclusive keychain featuring Tokugawa Ieyasu and Sakai Tadatsugu. It will be included with the third volume as a first press bonus item.

Mini-Ieyasu's tiny eyebrows are the best!

Friday 24 October 2014

News roundup: The 'Micro Yamaguchi' Revolmini figure of Mitsunari can now be preordered

Preorders open for January's Ishida Mitsunari 'Revolmini' figure

If you've been eagerly waiting for the chance to secure your reservation for Mitsunari, now's the time to place an order! He's available from AmiAmi, e-Capcom, HLJ, Kaiyodo and Yesasia, and within a few days that should expand to anywhere else which specialises in Japanese figures. If you're able to buy from Amazon Japan, that version comes with stickers as a bonus.

My thanks go to Kaoru for keeping track of this news and spreading the word. So long as you don't mind him being a little smaller, this is a great alternative for those who didn't want to pay the inflated prices that the full-sized Mitsunari Revoltech often commands. I hope they'll announce more Sengoku Basara characters for the Revolmini treatment soon.

The first wave of merchandise for Butai Sengoku Basara 4 is revealed

In just one week from today, Butai Sengoku Basara 4 will finally start its run in Japan, updating the stage play series to bring it up to date with the games. It hasn't completely sold out but tickets are scarce in Nagoya and Osaka, and the official staff blog has been teasing fans with a series of updates from the actors (which regrettably don't yet show them in costume).

With this being Sengoku Basara, a new stage play also means more special merchandise. Here's what next week's attendees will be able to purchase at the venue - any leftovers will almost certainly end up in the Dais Shop when it reopens. Only the first three items have sample pictures so far.

A 32-page A4 pamphlet (programme) for ¥2,100:

An original drawstring pouch for ¥1,500:

A T-shirt (available in S/M/L sizes) for ¥2,500:

The items not pictured are described as follows.
  • Four different A4 clear files for ¥600 each (Yoshiteru/Sakon/Katsuie, Masamune/Mitsunari, Ieyasu/Yukimura and Kojuurou/Sasuke).
  • Fifteen different five-piece sets of large photographs for ¥1,000.
  • Five different sets of A4 mutsugiri photographs for ¥1,000 (Yoshiteru/Kotarou, Masamune/Katsuie, Mitsunari/Sakon, Ieyasu/Yukimura and Kojuurou/Sasuke).
I was confused about the abstract red/black/gold design until I realised it was clearly meant to look like a roulette wheel (I'm not that smart). The rich colours they've chosen are very nice; hopefully the stage play version of Ashikaga Yoshiteru will be as grand as the one from the game!

Another batch of Animate-exclusive Gakuen Basara goodies appears

Thank you to Tatzel for bringing these items to my attention! The Gakuen Basara parody spin-off continues to generate a crazy amount of decent merchandise, and once again it's all exclusive to Animate stores in Japan from mid-December 2014. If you can't buy from Animate through a proxy service, however, Otaku Republic is able to ship them worldwide.

Four different metal badges in the Gakuen Basara Badge Collection range for ¥450 apiece:

Two A4 clear files for ¥350 apiece:

Four different IC card stickers designed to resemble student ID cards for ¥800 each:

Ten different acrylic keychains, available in blind packaging for ¥500 each. You can also purchase a box of ten for ¥5,000:

I really want those badges. The Mitsunari design is probably one of the most moe things the series has ever produced even if I'm not even a big Mitsunari fan. It seems unfair that some characters are getting so much more Gakuen Basara merchandise than others, though - in particular, I think it's about time the ladies of Gakuen Basara got some love!

Sengoku Basara Judge End adds more clear files to its range of merchandise

It's almost terrifying how many clear files there are for this series. Devoted stationery collectors can add another two to their collections in December 2014 when the Sengoku Basara Judge End Clear File Set goes on sale for ¥756. Amazon Japan and AmiAmi have their listings up already.

Gift's Mame Sengoku Basara cushions are to receive a general release

If you missed out on the two Mame Sengoku Basara 'Chara x Cushion' goodies from a few months ago, help is at hand - they seem to be receiving a general release this winter. Listings have appeared on AmiAmi (blue, yellow) and they're just as cute as ever. The cushions are scheduled for delivery in January 2015. Each design costs ¥2,700.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

News roundup: Mame Sengoku Basara goodies, Yukimura tofu, stage play DVDs and prize draws

There's an awful lot of Japan-only content in this news update, so I'll start off with some cuteness to soften the blow.

Mame Sengoku Basara receives another batch of new merchandise

The Mame Sengoku Basara series continues to drive its fans into poverty by inspiring more and more adorable merchandise with every passing week. Here are the latest goodies, all of which are planned for December 2014.

Nine different Mame Sengoku Basara mobile phone screen cleaners for ¥500 each:

Nine different Mame Sengoku Basara mobile phone straps for ¥800 each:

Nine different 'petakuri', novelty screen cleaners which you can stick to various surfaces, for ¥450 each:

The second volume of the Sengoku Basara 4 manga is due in December

This will probably be confirmed in next week's issue of Dengeki Maoh but since Mangaoh already have it up for preorder and the timing's about right, I'm going to jump the gun and report it now. The second volume of Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4 manga adaptation is scheduled for release on 20th December 2014. It won't be long before fans who don't subscribe to Dengeki Maoh can catch up on all of the beautiful artwork that Yoshihara has been teasing on Twitter for the last few months!

The release of the next Sengoku Basara 4 novel has been delayed

I mentioned that listings for a new novel titled Sengoku Basara 4: Saikyou-Chouhan-hen ('Western Misfortune/Cho-han Arc') had been spotted the other day, but the author Takase Mie has since posted on Twitter to explain that the novel won't make the leaked release date of 8th November. We'll have to wait for an official announcement to find out when it will be available.

Confirmation of the details for the upcoming stage play DVD

The general release of the Butai Sengoku Basara 3: Togakuruwashi Kizuna stage play DVD has been confirmed for 21st November 2014, with listings appearing on major online video stores over the last few days including Amazon Japan (LE) and CD Japan (LE). The specification matches the version which was offered through the Dais Shop for delivery in September (it was later delayed to 'late October' and has yet to ship).

The 182-minute DVD comes in a choice of standard and limited edition formats. The limited edition version adds a photo booklet and a bonus disc with 94 minutes of extra content. This includes 'making of' footage, the curtain call messages from the finale and a compilation from the special talk shows held after a few of the performances. Given that the prices are quite similar, I think the limited edition is great value!

Sengoku Basara 4's Sanada Yukimura heads to another historical event

Yukimura is certainly popular these days! He's the focus of another historically-themed celebration with the Tennouji Sanada Yukimura Fair on 1st November 2014, when a special event called Sanadamaru No Jin will be held as part of the ongoing Fair activities. Visitors who travel to Sanadayama Park in the heart of Osaka can enjoy a selection of attractions, and amongst them will be a Sengoku Basara 4 booth run by Capcom. They're even bringing the new mascot character Yukimura-kun along!

Crazy tofu brand Otokomae will be selling ¥300 packs of boiled tofu with an exclusive packaging design, exactly as they did back in May. It's an interesting choice of illustration - very fitting for the tofu brand's image.

Donate to charity, earn a unique Sengoku Basara 4 wallpaper

We were promised details of a way to earn a special Sengoku Basara 4 smartphone wallpaper by helping charity, and those details have finally surfaced this week. The Akai Hane Kyoudou Bokin ('Red Feather Community Chest') charity campaign has released a couple of Android applications to allow people to make donations and receive digital rewards.

Unfortunately, I don't have any Android devices - and even if I did, I suspect that this app will be another victim of Google's hyper-aggressive region locking which seems to make any software I would ever want to use unavailable outside Japan. I hope they'll consider an iOS version before the campaign ends in March 2015.

A Blu-ray/DVD release event will be held for Sengoku Basara Judge End

The Animate Girls Festival 2014 (AGF) convention will be taking place in Japan next month, and one of the scheduled events is an exclusive stage presentation to celebrate the release of Sengoku Basara Judge End on Blu-ray and DVD. The only way that a person can get tickets for the presentation is to buy a ticket for AGF itself (they were already almost completely sold out before it was announced) then, in addition, preorder the second volume of Judge End at a specific branch of Animate in central Tokyo.

Fans who are willing to meet these rather unreasonable criteria will be rewarded with a live talk show starring seiyuu Ookawa Tooru (Tokugawa Ieyasu) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura). The event had previously been advertised with Seki Tomokazu (Ishida Mitsunari) instead of Hoshi, but for some reason the guests were suddenly changed.

I'm glad that they're still supporting Judge End even though it's been a bit of a flop. Getting to see any of the seiyuu live is a real treat, after all.

Previews of the prizes for next month's Ichiban Kuji prize draw

Fans who are planning to buy tickets for the Ichiban Kuji V: Sengoku Basara Judge End ~The Battle of Sekigahara~ mini-lottery can now take a look at the range of thirty postcard-sized 'charamides' which will be on offer as prizes. 'Charamides' (it's a coined word; more info here courtesy of eirlystylluan) are collectible pictures printed on photographic paper. Each winner will receive a randomly-packed envelope containing three of them.

There are two additional charamides which can be earned by customers who buy five or more tickets at a time.

Only people with Japanese mobile phones are allowed to participate in the next two parts of the event but I'll mention them anyway for the sake of completeness.

All of the charamides come with a unique code on the back to let the holder vote in a special online contest for a chance to win additional prizes such as posters and sound clips. In addition, to raise awareness about the lottery, there's a Twitter campaign running right now. Six winners will be chosen to receive Sengoku Basara Judge End posters. Entrants have to follow the official Ichiban Kuji account on Twitter, then retweet the official announcements or talk about the upcoming lottery using the hashtag they list on the page.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Streaming: Autumn 2014 anime first impressions

It's looking as though I'm going to have a quieter time this autumn after the sensational summer, which probably isn't a bad thing with travel plans and seasonal deadlines looming at work. The recent abundance of female-orientated fan service and hot-blooded action has given way to a schedule full of schoolgirls and fantasy instead. There are still some gems to be found, but as several are blocked from viewers in the UK by regional lockouts I'm going to have to wait until they appear on home video before giving them a try.

The tangled mess of UK anime streaming services continued to disappoint last season and there's no sign that much has improved since then. Animax UK continues to be slow and annoying (I gave up on waiting for them to actually announce anything this season and went ahead with this post without them), Daisuki will probably end up replicating part of Crunchyroll's library, and Viewster has managed to get one exclusive title which has yet to appear (correction: they're now also streaming the new Gundam series). Wakanim are not streaming anything at all this season in order to work on a website overhaul and relaunch which will probably never happen. Once again, Crunchyroll is the go-to service for timely streaming on a set schedule.

The only one of my summer titles which is continuing into autumn is Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, so I'm starting with a relatively clean slate. Let's see which shows made the cut.

Spoilers: Fate was one of them

Saturday 18 October 2014

Today's acquisitions (18th October 2014)

I haven't ordered anything in a long time, but that doesn't mean that old preorders have stopped arriving. A few boxes of goodies turned up today, headed up by the newest figure of Date Masamune from Sengoku Basara.

It's the fourth figure in Kaiyodo's 'Micro Yamaguchi' Revolmini line.

It's really small compared to the old Revoltech version! They look similar at first glance, but the new one is much more articulated and sturdy.

On the whole I'm quite pleased with the new Masamune. I hope the rest of the series' leads follow later so he has someone to fight with who doesn't tower over him by several centimetres.

The same shipment included two manga volumes, Diabolik Lovers More Blood Mukami Hen: Sequel and the official adaptation of D3 Publisher's Gyakuten Yoshiwara. Sandwiched between them is the Diabolik Lovers: Sadistic Night 2014 event pamphlet and bonus CD.

The next picture is almost entirely CDs. Diabolik Lovers do-S Kyuuketsu CD: VERSUS II Vol. 6 is the last in its series so it included Animate's special tokuten CD alongside the usual bromide. The second Diabolik Lovers Dark Fate CD came with Stellaworth's bromide and short story pamphlet, then Ishikawa Chiaki's Zenya EP and the limited edition hardback art book version of Exit Tunes' Vocalospace compilation round off the things I paid for. Vocalospace came with a cute Hatsune Miku rubber strap, Animate gave me a Binary Star trading card and Yesasia threw in a small keychain mascot of Akashi from Kuroko No Basuke.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

News roundup: More Judge End merchandise - and the Mitsunari Revolmini figure will be available for preorder soon

Sengoku Basara has an unexpected presence at an anime event in Japan

There was a big surprise at last weekend's MBS Anime Fes event when the scheduled Attack on Titan, Macross Frontier, Gundam SEED, Tiger & Bunny and Haikyuu!! content was supplemented by a set of Sengoku Basara stage performances paying tribute to Production I.G.'s popular anime adaptation. Nakai Kazuya joined his Sengoku Basara co-stars Hoshi Souichirou and Ishida Akira as a secret guest and the three of them performed some live dialogue readings on stage (Hoshi and Ishida were among a number of seiyuu from the series who were already at the event to promote their roles in other shows). T.M.Revolution even returned to the stage to perform FLAGS and SWORD SUMMIT for a delighted audience. I wish I could have been watching!

NTV continues to show off more Sengoku Basara Judge End merchandise

The series might not be selling very well but that isn't stopping companies producing an endless stream of merchandise for it, and the latest update to NTV's Judge End website reveals another batch of goodies to tempt fans to part with more of their cash.

Four different 'hanging' hook bookmarks for release on 18th December 2014 priced at ¥1,000 each:

Two sets of clear bookmarks for release on 19th December 2014 priced at ¥600 each:

Each set comes with three punch-out bookmarks; the small pictures show how they look when you first open the pack.

Finally, there are four different Omamori charms for release on 18th December 2014 priced at ¥700 each:

They contain slips of paper so that you can hide your wishes inside them.

Kaiyodo begin to tease the upcoming Mitsunari 'Revolmini' figure

It's been a while since the existence of the 'Micro Yamaguchi' Revolmini version of Mitsunari was first revealed back in August, but it seems as though he's finally on the way! The official Revolmini Twitter account has tweeted a few pictures which clearly show Mitsunari's silhouette and armour, promising that reservations will open on 25th October 2014. Given how popular the original Revoltech version of Mitsunari seemed to be, it's probably a good idea to preorder early if you want to obtain this smaller version.

An official trailer is released for next year's Basara Matsuri fan event

It doesn't show much, but it's exciting that they're putting this much effort into it! You can see the short trailer here on YouTube or watch below.

Friday 10 October 2014

News roundup: Once again, even more Mame Sengoku Basara goodies are on the way

The range of Mame Sengoku Basara merchandise continues to expand

Fans of Mame Sengoku Basara continue to have an expensive year as the new merchandise just keeps on coming! Here are the latest additions.

Nine different Mame Sengoku Basara multi-purpose cloths priced at ¥600 each. They'll be available from mid-November 2014.

Three different Mame Sengoku Basara glasses priced at ¥1,200 each. They'll be released in mid-November 2014.

Another Mame Sengoku Basara tote bag, this time featuring Motonari and Motochika. It's due for release in December 2014 priced at ¥1,500.

A pair of Mame Sengoku Basara sports towels priced at ¥2,000 each. They'll be released in mid-November 2014.

Listings appear for a second Sengoku Basara 4 novel adaptation

Online bookstore Manga Oh has listed a new book for release on 8th November 2014 titled Sengoku Basara 4: Saikyou-Chouhan-hen ('Western Misfortune/Cho-han Arc'). There's a note that the title is not yet confirmed but given that it perfectly matches that of the previous book I think it's safe to assume it will stick, and the content will focus on Ishida Mitsunari and Shima Sakon. Takase Mie is credited as the writer and Haibara Yak will be providing illustrations once again.

I was wondering whether the novel series would continue just the other day so I looked it up; what a coincidence!

Need something warm and tasty on the battlefield? Try this spicy houtou stew!

Takeda Shingen's delicious houtou is the latest regional dish to be made available in official Sengoku Basara 4 packaging. As the stew is a speciality closely associated with the land of Kai, the kits went on sale on 8th October 2014 aimed at the tourist market in what is now Yamanashi Prefecture.

A Sengoku Basara stamp rally event will be held in Ueda

Sengoku Basara's Sanada Yukimura already adorns tourist sites all over Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, and now between 18th October and 30th November 2014 he's going to be the face of the Shinshuu Ueda x Sengoku Basara Stamp Rally ~Part 1 - Battle of Ueda: The Tokugawa Army Repelled~ campaign. There are two different ways that visitors to Ueda can participate in the stamp rally; they can either collect a stamp card and run around collecting stamps the old fashioned way to receive a B2 poster, or they can use their mobile phones to earn a smartphone wallpaper. If the mobile phone participants complete a survey they'll be entered into a draw to win one of the B2 posters as well.

Updates on the latest Ichiban Kuji prize draws

I was beginning to wonder whether the upcoming Ichiban Kuji V lottery had been cancelled as it had been such a long time since it was first announced! However, it turns out that Ichiban Kuji V: Sengoku Basara Judge End ~The Battle of Sekigahara~ is still going ahead on 15th November 2014 as planned and it's now been added to the official website. Entry slips will be sold in a variety of stores for ¥390 once the campaign commences.

In addition, the Judge End bath towels will start to appear in amusement arcades from 6th November 2014.

The Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- manga goes on sale in Italy

I'm grateful to thebasariankaoru on Tumblr for mentioning this and sharing a picture as I hadn't realised that Panini Comics had begun publishing Itou Ryuu's Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- series in Italy under their manga label! It seems to have an official publication date of 9th October 2014, and it's probably much easier for fans in the west to obtain than the Japanese editions - at least within Europe.

The English-speaking world is definitely lagging behind when it comes to official translations of the many Sengoku Basara manga spin-off series. I imagine that the grim tone of Sengoku Basara 3 -Bloody Angel- would be reasonably popular with English-speaking manga readers even if the original game is relatively obscure.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

News roundup: A new Sengoku Basara game is released outside Japan (for iOS)

iOS users can now buy the mobile version of Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3

I'm sorry about the title. It's technically true though: Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3 seems to have received a simultaneous worldwide release on the iTunes store this week! I haven't checked every store but I can confirm that it's available in the UK (£10.49), USA ($14.99), Germany (€13.99) and in many other parts of Europe, as well as in its native Japan (¥1,500).

In honesty, the game is very expensive for what you get and it's all in Japanese (though that's probably not too much of a problem when it's a basic slot machine simulator). Pachislot Sengoku Basara 3 is also available for Android devices, however - like most Japanese titles - it seems to be region locked in the UK.

An adorable Sengoku Basara stylus collection arrives in November

Japanese gaming fans will be able to collect ten different mobile phone 'touch pen' styluses in a limited number of Capcom amusement arcades from the beginning of November 2014. They come with headphone socket attachments so they double up as cute charms whenever you're not using them to draw on the screen.

I love Tsuruhime's face

These are probably going to be tricky to find as the arcades which plan to carry them aren't in the most convenient of locations. I hope they get a wider release later on.

Ishikawa Chiaki participates in a Sengoku Basara broadcast on Nico Nico Live

I didn't hear much mention of this aside from a few tweets from staff members, but singer Ishikawa Chiaki held a special Sengoku Basara live performance and talk show on Nico Nico today to promote her newest album, Watashi No Kokoro Ha Sou Ittenai. Those with premium accounts may still be able to watch here if they missed the live broadcast.

It was a strange event as it combined the latest updates from Ishikawa with news about the upcoming Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play. While many Sengoku Basara fans will know Ishikawa best for her contributions to the Sengoku Basara 3 game and the various anime adaptations, she's also created several songs exclusively for the Butai Sengoku Basara series. I would go as far as to say that Ishikawa's emotional melodies have even more impact in the stage play series than Nishikawa Takanori's high energy theme songs.

After a simple introduction, Ishikawa presented a compilation video to introduce viewers to her new album. A lot of the viewers made silly Sengoku Basara comments when Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ began to play. Ishikawa then invited her guests onto the show: Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki and Murata Youjirou, the actor who plays Sarutobi Sasuke in Butai Sengoku Basara. Murata recently got married so he was in a very good mood.

The three of them talked about the series as a whole, watching a Sengoku Basara 4 promotional video and even mentioning the Takarazuka musical adaptation (Ishikawa is definitely a big fan)! Now that Sengoku Basara Judge End has finished, it feels as though the Sengoku Basara 3 era has finally ended and KobaP has gone back to promoting Sengoku Basara 4 with all his might.

The broadcast's big announcement was that Butai Sengoku Basara 4 will feature two of Ishikawa's newest songs: Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ and Tír na nÓg. Although Tír na nÓg wasn't originally planned as a Sengoku Basara song, its themes and melody ended up being a perfect fit so they decided to include it in the stage play series. Hey, the interviewer in Animage magazine turned out to have good intuition when they linked Tír na nÓg to Sengoku Basara last month!

The show ended with Ishikawa performing an extended version of Hokkyokusei ~Polaris~ live from the studio for premium viewers. Although the stream's sound quality wasn't perfect, her pretty voice made it a treat to listen to.

The broadcast was a pleasant way to pass the evening, especially for Ishikawa fans. She did a good job of interacting with the live viewers by remarking on the comments they made in real time. The commenters seemed to be full of energy too, asking her to appear at next year's Basara Matsuri event and begging KobaP for a Sengoku Basara 4 anime adaptation (I'm pretty sure that the first wish, at least, will be granted).

It's going to be fun to see the promotion for Butai Sengoku Basara 4 gradually increasing over the next three weeks. I wonder when we'll we get to see Sakon, Katsuie and Yoshiteru in costume?

Thursday 2 October 2014

News roundup: T.M.Revolution is confirmed for the next Basara Matsuri

More guests are announced for February's big Basara Matsuri event

The second wave of announcements appeared on the official Basara Matsuri website this morning. Headlining the announcements is the first music guest: T.M. Revolution. I was reasonably sure he'd be appearing but it's good to have confirmation!

As for the other guests, Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie) has been added to the list of seiyuu who will be attending the event. The first group of Butai Sengoku Basara 4 stage play actors has also been announced:

Yamaguchi Daichi (Date Masamune)
Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura)
Kubodera Akira (Oda Nobunaga)
Taniguchi Masashi (Akechi Mitsuhide)
Amano Kousei (Ashikaga Yoshiteru)

The next ticket lottery will begin accepting applications on Friday 10th October and this time it's open to the general public. Basara Matsuri is getting a lot of media attention already!

Sengoku Basara Judge End sells poorly on home video, people act surprised

The first week sales for Sengoku Basara Judge End have now been revealed and it's suddenly being discussed by the wider anime community for all the wrong reasons after having been thoroughly ignored during its actual broadcast.

The first week total sales were 569 copies on DVD and 669 copies on Blu-ray for a total of 1,238 copies, a substantial drop from the previous Production I.G. adaptation. Please note that these statistics don't include exports or shops which don't report their sales, but they're still interesting for comparison.

I think anyone seriously expecting the show to do any better than that with its budget and the amount of promotion it's had would have been crazily optimistic. I know the actual content has proven divisive but the bigger problem that Judge End has faced is that hardly anyone seemed to know it was even airing outside of the hardcore audience. Many of the buyers were probably more interested in the bonus radio CDs than the show itself.

I'd be interested to know how well its merchandise is selling in comparison. Speaking of which...

Even more Sengoku Basara Judge End merchandise is on the way

The CafeReo website has updated to show a generous amount of new merchandise planned for late November.

Sengoku Basara Judge End triple keyrings (two designs, ¥880 each):

Sengoku Basara Judge End die-cut stickers (four designs, ¥350 each):

Sengoku Basara Judge End pouch (¥980):

Sengoku Basara Judge End Japanese teacup (¥980):

Sengoku Basara Judge End reflective keyrings (four designs, ¥650 each):

Sengoku Basara Judge End face towels (four designs, ¥1,500 each):

Cover artwork is revealed for the newest Sengoku Basara art book

The Gekijouban Sengoku Basara -The Last Party- Official Illustration Collection II should be on its way to fans of Production I.G.'s anime adaptation very soon, and the cover has started to appear on online shopping sites. It's quite plain considering that the book is supposed to contain rare illustrations, so I guess we have to wait a little longer to glimpse what's inside.