(Approximately) 10-second Theatre: The Twin Dragons' Differences
Another new Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi video has been posted on the official website. It shows a short excerpt from a tense-looking confrontation between Masamune and Kojuurou.
The next video clip will be posted on Friday. I won't be around a computer that day so I'll catch up at the weekend!
Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi will feature on today's Capcom TV #24
Today's episode of Capcom TV is scheduled to include a segment with Gatchman - the young man who was demonstrating the title at the Nico Nico Choukaigi 2015 event. There will be content about the game's system and characters and it's very likely that there will be some live gameplay. The show begins at 20:00 Japan time so if you happen to be around, I recommend checking it out! If you miss it, don't worry - the video will probably be posted on the Capcom YouTube channel later on.
Capcom TV can be watched live on YouTube, Twitch or Nico Nico.
Want to exchange letters with other international Sengoku Basara fans?
Tumblr user amazingferret is arranging a letter exchange called the Starlight Starbright Post 2015 to help connect Sengoku Basara fans as part of the series' unofficial anniversary celebrations. I think it's a fun idea, so don't be shy and go check it out if you'd like to spread your love of the series further (and possibly, make some new friends).
Mini review of The Sengoku Basara Qualification: Official Exam Questions
This 127-page book is a tie-in for the upcoming Sengoku Basara qualification, a gimmicky formal national examination taking place later this year for hardcore fans. It includes 306 sample questions to help people study (or fool around with their friends). There's also a marking system so you can see how well you did; you have to get every single question correct to be able to call yourself a true 'Basaramono'!
The first section introduces all of the characters, though Rikyuu and the absent veterans from the older games (including Ujimasa) only have tiny pictures without full profiles. The rest of the book is divided into chapters for every game in the series, other than Sengoku Basara X (Cross), arranged in chronological order of release. Finally, the complete list of answers is printed at the back. The answers obligingly include full explanations so you can see where you made a mistake.
The main problem with this book is that I was expecting some seriously difficult questions - and to be honest they're all rather easy. They test on all aspects of the series, from obscure kanji readings to game mechanics, but I can't imagine that any hardcore fans will have trouble scoring reasonably high, especially if they study. I wanted to find questions so tough I'd have to look things up, like some of YamamotoD's weird references in official interviews...
The other problem is that I bought it hoping for some interesting Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi trivia yet it only covers information from the official website and press releases - how mean! That's my fault for being overly optimistic, admittedly.
If you want to test your Sengoku Basara knowledge, the book was released on 25th June 2015 priced at ¥1,000 before tax. It can be purchased from all good import book stores such as Amazon Japan, CD Japan and Yesasia. Please note that the book is entirely written in Japanese and the pictures are quite small, so it's not really worth picking up if you don't speak the language. There are better guidebooks out there for people looking for a more visual experience.
Bonus: Another of Yamamoto Makoto's BASARA Sengoku HERO columns
My ongoing quest continues. It's interesting to get series director YamamotoD's comments about the characters so I've tracked down a few more of the extra articles from Dengeki Maoh to gradually summarise and release.
Uesugi Kenshin's column is from the most recent Dengeki Maoh #8 2015. Please note that the final bullet point contains a story spoiler for Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi; YamamotoD seems to be getting increasingly relaxed about giving hints about the game's stories as we get closer to the release date.
- The first thing the interviewer wanted to know about was how the team first came up with their version of Kenshin, since he's appeared in every game to date. YamamotoD explained that since they were making a Sengoku-themed game, he believed that including Kenshin and Shingen was an absolute necessity.
- He started researching the real-life Kenshin by reading numerous historical records, in order to be able to bring the character to life.
- YamamotoD knew about the hypothesis that Kenshin might actually have been a woman, and that's the reason why the Sengoku Basara version of Kenshin ended up being androgynous.
- The interviewer joked that it was a huge leap to go from the 'Kenshin was a woman' theory to a Takarazuka theme. YamamotoD acted surprised, explaining that he grew up in Hyougo and when he went to college he lived in the Takarazuka area. The Takarazuka Revue was a familiar presence in his life.
- When it comes to 'androgyny', you think about the Takarazuka Revue. And when you think about Takarazuka, the famous series The Rose Of Versailles is what comes to mind. So that's how Kenshin came to life, surrounded by fluttering rose petals. (Raindrops' note: For those who don't follow anime, manga or theatre, The Rose Of Versailles is about a beautiful woman who has been raised as a dashing man.)
- One of YamamotoD's favourite anecdotes about the real Uesugi Kenshin is how he sent salt to his rival Takeda Shingen for the sake of the common people when the Imagawa clan blocked the supply routes. It's the source of a Japanese proverb which is still used today to remind people to play fair: "Send your enemy salt".
- He also finds it deeply interesting that Kenshin went back to Kyoto to have an audience with Ashikaga Yoshiteru, and that they hit it off well enough that Yoshiteru later offered Kenshin a character from his name. Kenshin is part of the Ashikaga faction in Sengoku Basara 4 because the two of them had such a friendly relationship in real life.
- In the game, Kenshin considers Yoshiteru to be almost perfect with just one thing missing: knowing what it's like to be a regular human being.
- He thinks that the world would be fine under Yoshiteru if he's able to come to understand this, so Kenshin strives to give him a chance to become that 'perfect being'. That's where the encounter with Keiji (mentioned in his story summary) fits in.
- The interviewer observed that Kenshin often seems to interact with Keiji. In Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (Heroes), Keiji wandered by idly and then got talking to Kenshin. In Sengoku Basara 3, Keiji was freeloading in the Uesugi Army. The reason is that the real-life Keiji eventually served the Uesugi clan; this led to them including various encounters between the characters in the game series too.
- Speaking of Kenshin's connections, there's also Kasuga to consider. She's obviously deeply in love with Kenshin so the interviewer was curious about the way Kenshin viewed her.
- YamamotoD answered that Kenshin addresses Kasuga as his 'beautiful blade'. When he calls her 'beautiful', Kenshin isn't speaking as though they're in a relationship. It signifies that he's viewing Kasuga from another perspective - well in any case, part of this is deliberately kept vague. After all, we don't know whether Kenshin is even a man or a woman. (Raindrops' note: YamamotoD chuckled at this, after having dodged the original question with his rambling.)
- Moving on, YamamotoD said that although Kenshin and Shingen are rivals they mutually recognise one another as daimyo, as warriors and as individuals. Each of them is the only opponent who can match the other in every respect.
- With the exception of Ashikaga Yoshiteru, Kenshin and Shingen are high ranking warriors who stand out in the world of Sengoku Basara. Even Nobunaga and Hideyoshi fall short in comparison. That's why these two people, who acknowledge one another, are finally going to settle things in Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi.
- There will be an outright winner in their showdown but the outcome will differ depending on the route; we'll see both sides of the story.
- It's a little sad to imagine one of them losing the other when they're the only people who truly acknowledge one another. However, because they're both adults they're unable to share the same kind of relationship as Masamune and Yukimura, and that's why they end up having to settle things.
- In Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi, Kenshin's drama route is fully devoted to his relationship with Shingen while his creation route is a story with Ashikaga Yoshiteru.
- Describing it as a 'massive spoiler' (so please skip past this line if you don't want to read it), YamamotoD mentioned that in the ending of the route "Kenshin ceases to be Kenshin". He urged fans to check it out if they want to know what he means by that hint.