Wednesday 30 December 2015

Streaming: Autumn 2015 anime final impressions

My personal life has been horrendously busy lately, and not in a good way - work has quite literally taken over my life. I didn't even notice Christmas even though I'm supposed to be relaxing now (in some strange universe where working every hour I'm awake is 'relaxing'). I'm not sure how great the quality of my writing will be under the circumstances, but tradition is tradition and now that the autumn 2015 anime season is over I want to post my thoughts about the shows I watched from the fragments of it which my sleep deprived brain can still remember.

Nothing much has changed with the UK-friendly streaming providers, and FUNimation have apparently been selling a few exclusivity contracts to companies like Animax, which is frustrating when Animax's service isn't very good. Exclusivity contracts suck for fans. I still have no idea when anything not on Crunchyroll or Daisuki goes live because Viewster and Animax don't really do schedules or announcements properly. Speaking of Viewster, I think I'm falling out of love with them now they seem to be holding back all of the features I actually want behind their expensive Omakase service. I have way too much Sengoku Basara merchandise lying around to even begin to consider paying a premium for a bunch of anime-related toys I don't want.

Anyway, my ranking hasn't changed much, except that Dance With Devils became available to the UK and upstaged everything else with its inherent stupidity. It turns out that fluffy supernatural shows are exactly what I need when I'm exhausted.

1. Dance With Devils
2. Gintama
3. Diabolik Lovers

The new Mobile Suit Gundam almost made it into the list too. The story gets a little weak from time to time and the strange hairstyles bother me, but those fantastic climaxes as the end of each episode have been way too exciting. It's a shame its UK streaming arrangement isn't that great.

'Twas the season of demons and vampires

Wednesday 23 December 2015

News: Dengeki PlayStation vol. 605 (14th January 2016) includes a Sanada Yukimura-den interview (updated with video!)

As we already knew from the leaks a few days ago, the newest issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine released this week featured some Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den content.

I have now purchased the magazine, so here's my summary. Most of the article is a recap of the information revealed last week but there's a new interview with KobaP and producer Nonaka at the end. Some of this information is very similar to what we've heard before; I've skipped the parts which were exactly the same.
  • The first question from the interviewer asked why the staff had changed, since the team of KobaP and YamamotoD has been associated so closely with the Sengoku Basara games in the past. KobaP explained that he nominated Nonaka as producer this time; he wanted this title to be different to the previous games in the series.
  • As for YamamotoD, his workload has become so great that it was decided that director Tanaka Toshihiro would join the project too. Of course, YamamotoD is still involved when it comes to character design, story ideas and planning out the game. Tanaka is in charge of the main story and YamamotoD is supervising.
  • Since this is the first game which focuses on a single character, picking the title gave them some trouble. They came up with the name Retsuden Series to show that they were making a single long story focused on a single warrior.
  • (Raindrops' note: As I said before, Retsuden is an ordinary word which means 'chronicle' or 'life story' but they deliberately write it slightly differently to give it the connotation of being an intense, hot-blooded story.)
  • The reason Yukimura was chosen for the first game in this series is that they wanted to showcase a prominent moment in the history of the Sengoku period, like they did with the Battle of Sekigahara in Sengoku Basara 3. They settled on the Siege of Osaka. Since it's the 400th anniversary of the conflict, they thought it would be perfect to have a story with Yukimura as the lead.
  • It's also an appropriate way to celebrate the series' tenth anniversary since Yukimura was one of the two leads in the very first game.
  • Focusing on a single character wouldn't have been feasible if they had chosen to make Sengoku Basara 5 instead.
  • Nonaka followed up with a longer explanation. In the main Sengoku Basara series there are many warriors, and one of the charms of the games is that each one of them can be the 'main character'. They wouldn't have been able to concentrate on a single storyline with one main character without the Retsuden Series. Not many of the warriors in the game were directly connected to the Siege of Osaka but Yukimura played a key role. They realised that by covering the story of his life they'd be able to delve deeply into the Siege of Osaka.
  • KobaP would be delighted if people could pay close attention to the bonds between Yukimura and his older brother, and between Yukimura and his father. He hopes the fans will try to come up with their own theories based on historical records while they wait for further information.
  • Since the story draws from actual history, some character relationships and backgrounds will be a little different this time. In some cases, characters who know each other in the main Sengoku Basara games didn't interact historically. As a result their relationships have been altered for this game.
  • KobaP elaborated further; games like Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi are essentially 'what if?' scenarios. Since this game isn't like that, it's tough for them to include characters who weren't involved historically. They don't want to go against established history so they reluctantly decided that some characters wouldn't be appearing at all.
  • The interviewer asked about Sasuke, noting that he has a deep relationship with Yukimura in the series despite being a fictitious character. KobaP refused to answer, saying it was still a secret at this point.
  • Instead, he mentioned that Shingen and Yukimura's interactions were the same kind of thing, 'what if?' scenarios rather than historical events. Since Yukimura's father and older brother are appearing this time, Yukimura's position has changed with regards to Shingen. These examples show that the world of Sanada Yukimura-den is different, with its own characteristics.
  • However, the new continuity won't affect the personalities of the existing Sengoku Basara characters who appear in the game. Some relationships have changed, but don't worry, the warriors' individual personalities and voice actors haven't.
  • The new trailer (from Jump Festa) is going to appear on the game's official website on Christmas Eve.
  • In the trailer, Yukimura is shown as he faces his final battle - the Osaka Summer Siege. In the actual game, he gradually matures into the 'unprecedented' Yukimura shown in the video.
  • Nonaka wanted to show Yukimura growing over the course of the game, so his appearance and weapons become flashier over time. Yukimura's association with fire is strong so the flame imagery is at the forefront.
  • KobaP noted that he has more aerial moves this time. It's a good match for the phoenix imagery on his new outfit.
  • We can look forward to a story which has both Yukimura-style hot-blooded content and serious moments.
  • Masamune uses his six-claw style all the time in this game. We can expect new moves which make use of the six swords.
  • Since this is a new game, there are new gameplay elements. But we have to wait for further details.
  • Nonaka said that there are also new elements to keep people coming back and playing after they complete the main story.
  • KobaP added that there's only one story so to keep people wanting to play, they've included all kinds of Basara-ish things. The stages have been put together especially for this game so they're different to before, and the stages have different win conditions. They can't say more for now.
  • However, the difficulty level hasn't changed. It's possible to play in a relaxed way as usual, sitting back and enjoying the solemn story. People who want more of a challenge can select a higher difficulty.
  • It's appeared in previous games but since Osaka Castle is the climax of the game, it's a completely new stage this time around.
  • KobaP joked that this Osaka Castle looks very flashy from outside.
  • Although Tokugawa Ieyasu was an old man by the time of the Osaka Summer Siege in real life, they haven't retained that element in the game (lol).
  • Please expect all of the returning Sengoku Basara characters to look the same as usual. Nonaka wants to surpass the fans' expectations when it comes to making the characters stronger, but he doesn't think there's any need to change their core character concepts. So there won't be any dramatic alterations like changing their ages.
  • Nonaka thinks there are many characters in the series who would work as a lead in a future Retsuden Series game. If it was his decision, he'd like to make a game about Xavi! Honda Tadakatsu would also make an interesting lead for a future title.
  • KobaP thinks that they'll end the Retsuden Series if it isn't well received. Even though he's a little nervous, he's really looking forward to hearing what fans think about it. His heart is pounding because it's a new experiment!
Raindrops' note: I said that Nonaka was the director last time, rather than the producer. This was a mistake on my part due to overexcitement, he's definitely the producer. Sorry. It's not even written in Japanese.

I didn't spot anything new from Weekly Famitsu in this week's bumper year-end issue. That fits the pattern they have used in the past, though, where Weekly Famitsu breaks the news one week then Dengeki PlayStation (which is on a fortnightly schedule) adds a few more details while Weekly Famitsu concentrates on other titles.

As per KobaP's comments, the game's official website will update tonight and add the video from Jump Festa. I'll add the direct link to this post when I wake up. What a great Christmas gift!

Edit: The video went online at 10:00 Japan time!

You can watch it on the official YouTube channel.

News roundup: Mini midweek update

I'm anticipating making another news post tomorrow so I'll quickly summarise the latest happenings now to avoid things getting mixed up.

Some additional Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den information from Dengeki

It seems that there's a little more information about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den in this week's Dengeki PlayStation magazine. BlackKite has summarised the early leaks so far here. I'm not expecting any major new reveals but if those comments are representative there might be a few interesting tidbits to read when the magazine is released.

A few more preview pictures from January's new stage play

There's also been an update on the Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi stage play website. Katsuie (Fujita Ray), Motonari (Kotani Yoshikazu) and Tsuruhime (Kawamura Yukie) are now shown in costume. Even if there are no major changes from their previous outings as these characters it's still nice to see them dressed up.

A special Christmas offer for the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi music packs

Finally, there's currently a Christmas/New Year sale running on Japan's PSN which is offering some of the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi background music DLC at a discount until 4th January 2016. more specifically, if you purchase any one of the other six 'music collection' DLC packs from previous Sengoku Basara games, or the Character theme songs ~DISCO BASARA mix~ music pack, you'll receive the Classic Sengoku Basara X music collection pack for free.

For reference, this pack contains the following songs:

1. JOY RIDE (Suriagehara) CROSS.ver
2. Determination Of The Right Eye CROSS.ver
3. Ueda Battle CROSS.ver
4. Maeda Keiji's Theme CROSS.ver
5. Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Theme CROSS.ver
6. Takenaka Hanbee's Theme CROSS.ver
7. Chousokabe Motochika's Theme CROSS.ver
8. Battle Of Itsukushima CROSS.ver
9. Conquest By Military Force CROSS.ver
10. Awakening CROSS.ver

Saturday 19 December 2015

News roundup: Today was the first Jump Festa 2016 stage presentation

Fan reactions to today's Sengoku Basara stage presentation

As promised, today KobaP held a stage presentation at the Jump Festa event and gave the assembled crowd a sneak peek at the first video footage for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den. Sadly, Capcom wasn't streaming any of its stage presentations at all so I've had to make do with various fan accounts from social media. The new video seemed universally well-received with people commenting that they were glad they came to watch the presentation for it.

A few notes (I hope to be able to add to this later since there's so little information):
  • The video was narrated by Takeda Shingen (Genda Tesshou).
  • Masamune had his six blades drawn the whole time; it seems that his reworked move set gives him access to six-claw-style combat right from the start.
  • The action in the video was really intense.
  • They plan to release more details about the game from spring next year through to the summer.
  • There will be more information at next year's Basara Matsuri event in March.
There's another presentation tomorrow morning at 10:40am Japan time, but I'll only make a new post about it if I hear any new details since the content is likely to be the same. I hope that the video will appear on the game's official website very soon. Previous event videos have appeared as early as the following Monday, but since the announcement is still so new it's difficult to be sure when the clip will become available.

Edit (20/12/2015): Gamer has posted some stills from the presentation as part of its Jump Festa coverage. The article describes the video as a scene from a confrontation between Yukimura and Masamune, and there was a loud cheer from the audience when Masamune appeared on screen. KobaP went over the information from last week's Weekly Famitsu magazine afterwards and mentioned that there were new game mechanics but didn't go into any further detail. He also outright said that it was possible for Masamune to use all six blades throughout the game this time; there was a lot of surprise from the crowd at those comments. Apparently, the new Osaka Summer Siege stage will be quite different to what we have come to expect from Sengoku Basara.

Edit (21/12/2015): 4Gamer has now posted its coverage too and it sounds as though we can expect the new video very soon. Since the gaming sites are taking a while to publish their reports I'm guessing it won't be today, but instead when the official site updates (on Thursday, if they're consistent). Let's see. OneSanitarium also noticed that the website is specifically calling it a one-player game; this might mean there's no co-op mode at all. The game's genre was quietly changed back to the usual 'Stylish Hero Action' too.

More details about the Date Masamune vacuum cleaner (there's good news, and bad news)

Speaking of events, one of the big announcements back at TGS 2015 was that Capcom were collaborating with Sharp to create a Premium Cocorobo - a talking roomba vacuum cleaner based on Date Masamune. Today's event had a demonstration of the vacuum cleaner and it seems to have caused a lot of excitement.

The listing is now up on the e-Capcom store and the first thing most people will notice is the price: ¥162,000 including sales tax. That's a huge amount of money for a novelty vacuum cleaner! It comes with its own voice recordings from seiyuu Nakai Kazuya, special packaging and an instruction manual on CD, and the device itself has all kinds of advanced features such as connecting to wireless Internet to download news, weather reports and interacting with smartphones.

Preorders will be accepted until 18th January 2016 or until all of the units are sold; it's a strictly limited item. The roomba is expected to ship in March 2016.

Edit: The device's official website is now online, and they've added a hilarious new promotional video.

Ashigaru-kun visits the Capcom Bar (official tie-in report)

Ashigaru-kun has been very busy this week, not just appearing at the event above but also writing up the third of his reports about the new Sengoku Basara menu items at Shinjuku's Capcom Bar. This week is the last article in this series so he talks about the various drinks which fans can buy, with help from the bar's manager who describes everything in more detail. It's not that great unless you like pictures of Ashigaru-kun's goofy face, since the official pictures of the drinks are already good enough to give a good idea of what they're supposed to look like.

Previews of this week's new manga releases

Today marks the release date for both Tane Jugou's comical Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara manga and Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 4 volume 3 (the final book). To draw attention to the releases, the Dengeki Online website has posted a preview article showcasing some of the artwork.

For a limited time, customers who purchase either book through Animate will receive a mini shikishi paper with illustrations drawn by the original manga artists. Previews of both papers are also included in the Dengeki Online article.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

News: Details from the official Sengoku Basara Sanada Yukimura Den announcement in Weekly Famitsu

A summary of the newest game information from Weekly Famitsu magazine

I picked up this week's Weekly Famitsu (dated 31st December 2015) for the promised details about the new Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura Den (Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura Legend) PS3/PS4 game due for release this summer.

Here's a summary in English; please forgive any errors as I'm so excited typing this up that I'd make Yukimura look calm.
  • The article about the new game leads with a cool picture of Yukimura dressed in a more elaborate outfit with golden highlights and a longer jacket - it looks much more like a traditional jinbaori and a little like his special costume in The Last Party.
  • An illustration shows the full costume; it has awesome golden flames at the bottom, making Yukimura resemble a phoenix according to the article. The six coins of the rokumonsen are arranged in a cross on his back this time.
  • He's fighting his rival Date Masamune in the main picture. Masamune is dressed in a slightly different outfit too, white with gold highlights. Masamune certainly seems to be a main character from his prominence in the article. His image colour is white in this game, a departure from what we're used to.
  • The characters have flashy gold parts on their weapons too.
  • An inset picture shows Yukimura surrounded by Tokugawa soldiers. Another shows that Masamune's white costume has a golden cross on the back, a clear reference to a story about the real Masamune and Hideyoshi which YamamotoD has mentioned a few times in the past.
  • As mentioned in yesterday's leaks, the game will go as far as the famous Osaka Summer Siege.
  • As part of the Sengoku Basara Retsuden Series the game's story focuses on an individual character (Yukimura) as one long dramatic story, full of blazing drama which runs closer to actual history.
  • Osaka Castle is billed as the stage for the decisive battle, a natural decision given its role in the famous series of sieges Yukimura is still associated with today.
  • The game's genre is 'action'. Details such as the price and CERO rating are still unconfirmed. Development is 50% complete.
  • The voice actors for Yukimura and Masamune are still Hoshi Souichirou and Nakai Kazuya, of course.
  • The game's interface isn't shown but it looks really similar to the usual style. New moves are confirmed for both characters.
  • A comment from the magazine staff observes that Masamune always has all six blades drawn in the gameplay pictures so far.
  • While KobaP and YamamotoD are still credited as series producer and series director respectively, the game's producer is Nonaka Daizou and Tanaka Toshihiro is credited as director.
  • (Raindrops' note: I typoed on this point before and have since corrected it.)
The article finishes with a two-page interview with Nonaka and KobaP.
  • KobaP said that Yukimura is a very important character in the Sengoku Basara series and they felt as though he hasn't had many opportunities to take a central role as the main series developed. Since the 400th anniversaries of the Osaka Winter Siege and Summer Siege took place last year and this year, it made him want to try focusing on Yukimura from a new perspective.
  • (Raindrops' note: Capcom's headquarters is based a short distance from Osaka Castle, so it would be impossible for them to miss all of the celebrations that have been taking place there.)
  • It's going to be a Sengoku Basara game with a single long story, a little like Devil May Cry or Biohazard (Resident Evil).
  • The interviewer asked whether other characters would star in future games of this kind. KobaP refused to give any hints; there are plenty of things they want to do but he still doesn't know what will happen.
  • Producer Nonaka has no previous involvement in the Sengoku Basara series but KobaP has been working with him for three or four years. Since this is a new series (the Retsuden Series, not Sengoku Basara itself!) he's letting a new producer and staff take care of the project.
  • Nonaka spoke up too at this point. He said that even though he hasn't worked on the series before, he's always been interested in it and plays the games as a fan. So he was very pleased to be called upon.
  • They removed the usual Sengoku Basara logo because it wouldn't make sense to have the Date crest in the background for a game about Yukimura.
  • Actually, redesigning the logo gave them quite a lot of trouble. It was hard to get the balance right and incorporate the rokumonsen crest, so they settled on something easy to understand.
  • KobaP explicitly confirmed that the game will be closer to actual history than the version of Yukimura's life story we've seen so far.
  • Nonaka said he went back and researched Yukimura's life story all over again in order to work on the game and even if he left everything as it really happened historically, Yukimura's short life was dramatic enough as it was. He was already involved with many famous warriors and major events, so upon adding some 'Basara-style' flair the story steadily expanded.
  • The interviewer thought that a lot of the fans would be wondering which other characters might appear. KobaP joked that he wasn't able to say anything about that but there is a very high possibility that characters with links to Yukimura - just like his rival, Date Masamune - will show up. They'll reveal additional characters gradually, along with brand new characters.
  • This remark sent the interviewer into a panic so KobaP continued to explain. It wouldn't really be possible to tell Yukimura's life story properly if his family didn't appear, so his father Sanada Masayuki and older brother Sanada Nobuyuki will be in the game as new characters. Yukimura will have father-son and brotherly connections in the game as well as his usual rivalry with Masamune.
  • Yukimura has never been shown interacting with Masayuki or Nobuyuki before so Nonaka wanted to show him having real human relationships.
  • KobaP told everyone not to worry, Masamune and Yukimura themselves won't be portrayed too differently to usual.
  • The costumes were redesigned to launch the Sengoku Basara Retsuden Series and give it a different feel to usual. KobaP said that even though the series is ten years old they've never altered the characters' base outfits before. He thinks that doing it right from the start this time will have a big impact.
  • Yukimura's redesigned outfit is inspired by the Osaka Summer Siege, where the real Yukimura died. Nonaka said this was his peak as both a human being and warrior. He wanted an outfit worthy of such a climax so every single part of the new costume is flashy and they made it more like a jinbaori. Sadly Nonaka couldn't talk about much more without revealing spoilers, so he stopped at this point.
  • The interviewer was surprised that talking about a jinbaori could be a spoiler. KobaP laughed and said "I wonder?" then changed the subject by mentioning that the game would include various other costumes in addition to the ones which have been revealed so far.
  • As I speculated above, Masamune's white clothing is a direct reference to his interactions with Toyotomi Hideyoshi in actual history. White clothes are associated with death and burial in Japan, and I'm going to steal some comments from the interview with YamamotoD in Sengoku Basara Magazine to explain (I'm sorry I haven't posted my full translation yet!)
  • (From Sengoku Basara Magazine issue 10) The anecdote about the time Masamune dressed in white is another great story. He arrived late for his duties at Odawara and when he went to apologise to Hideyoshi, he wore white burial clothes to the meeting. In addition, when he had to explain himself after causing an uprising, he shocked the people of the capital - including Hideyoshi - by arriving dressed in white once again and carrying a golden crucifix.
  • KobaP also thinks that the white colour has a western-style knightly image to it. The redesign of Masamune's outfit to remove his traditional blue and famous helmet is rather striking.
  • The interviewer said the characters' images had changed a lot. KobaP assured them that it isn't just costumes; their move sets have been redone as well. Fans will get a fresh feeling from both of them when they play the game.
  • It's already been five years since Sengoku Basara 3 and both Yukimura and Masamune have had some upgrades in that time. However, it feels as though they're lagging behind compared to newer characters like Ashikaga Yoshiteru and Sen No Rikyuu in Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi. KobaP and YamamotoD thought it would be a bad idea to recklessly make changes to the characters's move sets. However, since this new game gave them an opportunity to try it out they went ahead and used the momentum from designing the brand new characters to revamp Yukimura and Masamune as well.
  • (Raindrops' note: This sort of sounds as though other new characters will be playable, doesn't it?)
  • The idea behind Yukimura's new moves is 'a Yukimura who has become stronger'. Nonaka reassured the readers that he plays similarly to before.
  • They can't give any specific details about Masamune yet but it's a little different to Yukimura, who is the main character you control for most of the game. Masamune's role is somewhat antagonistic as Yukimura's rival, and his personality comes across more strongly this time.
  • Masamune doesn't have his own separate story, it's more that you can control him at certain points in the game. The story shifts between different characters' viewpoints and at those points you control the other characters.
  • As for stages, they're only focusing on Osaka Castle in this particular article. It's being introduced with an evening shot showcasing Hideyoshi's helmet shape over the castle keep, the way it was recently depicted in the main game series.
  • KobaP joked that Hideyoshi doesn't even wear a helmet in Sengoku Basara.
  • They all joked a little about how the castle keep doesn't really have any gameplay elements anyway. KobaP said it made you want to climb up to the top (not a serious comment).
  • The stage gimmicks have been changed for this game, so players will have to adapt rather than using their previous strategies.
  • They're aiming to release Sanada Yukimura Den next summer, so we can look forward to more reveals before then.

I imagine the official website will be live very soon to share all of these images in decent quality.

Edit: Here we go, the official website is now online.

The DVD recording of Butai Sengoku Basara 4 is coming out after all!

This is such good news that it deserves an exclamation mark. The DVD version of the 2014 stage play, Butai Sengoku Basara 4, has had its cancellation cancelled.

Citing fan demand as the reason for its release, the announcement confirms that the DVD set will include two discs for a runtime of 183 minutes (the play itself) plus 118 minutes of bonus footage. The extras include 'making of' documentary, cast interviews, a compilation of moments from the 'after show' talks on stage, the curtain call from the grand finale and interviews with the actors who graduated from the Butai Sengoku Basara series at the end of the show. Buyers who order the first press edition will receive five cast photographs along with their DVDs.

The set will cost ¥7,500 and it's already available for preorder through the Ace Shop. I expect it to receive a general release through normal retailers later on. No English subtitles are listed on the specification, which isn't too surprising as this play didn't have the 'live subtitling' feature of some more recent events.

There will be a special Capcom store in Utsunomiya for a limited time

Gamer is reporting that a Capcom Shop will open in the Parco department store in Utsunomiya, Tochigi between 18th December 2015 and 11th January 2016. It's difficult to see buried under all of the Monster Hunter merchandise but there will be some Sengoku Basara goodies available to fans who make the trip to visit.

I've been to that Parco a number of times and it's generally very quiet, so I hope that the shop does well over the holiday period. There will probably be a few nice New Year offers available.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

News: A new game is coming! Sengoku Basara Sanada Yukimura Den has been announced

Hey, KobaP's hint was worthwhile after all. I was getting a little disappointed as the day went on with the only new announcement being the second story in this post, but then Weekly Famitsu published its preview and...

Sengoku Basara Sanada Yukimura Den has been announced for this summer

It's been a long time since we first heard the title back in July(!) but Thursday's Weekly Famitsu is going to formally reveal the latest game in the Sengoku Basara series. According to the official preview on the Famitsu website, Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura Den (Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura Legend) is going to be released in Japan in summer 2016 on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

The preview article describes it as being part of the Sengoku Basara Retsuden Series (a retsuden means a historical record of someone's achievements but they're spelling it slightly differently on purpose, so let's go with 'Sengoku Basara: Blazing Saga' or something for now). It says to expect a new 'Sengoku Drama' depicting Yukimura's life. Interesting.

The full details will be published in the magazine along with a staff interview so I'll grab a copy tomorrow night and take a look. It would seem to be a safe bet to assume that this is what KobaP will be talking about at the weekend's Jump Festa stage presentations.

Edit: BlackKite has already done some digging and it seems that we're going to be seeing Sanada Masayuki and Sanada Nobuyuki, and Date Masamune will be playable at some points in the game. Yukimura and Masamune will get things 'like new outfits and new attacks'. The leaks also cryptically mention that stages such as Osaka Castle will have new gimmicks they'll be different to before, which could imply that that they're using the same game engine.

I'm torn between being sad that I was working late today so I missed all of the initial excitement, and happy because it means my social media feeds are full of pages upon pages of delighted Yukimura illustrations already. I can't wait to read up on everything I missed!

Hey, I guess all of YamamotoD's relentless hinting about wanting to do something like Bontenmaru-hen for Yukimura someday was referring to this.

Capcom teams up with Panasonic for official Sengoku Basara headphones

The other big news today, which in retrospect is rather less exciting than a brand new game, is that leading electronics manufacturer Panasonic will be teaming up with Capcom to release Sengoku Basara headphones with both Date Masamune and Ishida Mitsunari designs.

BASARA CLUB fan club members with very quick decision-making skills can place their preorders between now and Sunday to qualify for the exclusive 'premium package' edition of the headphones, which is priced at ¥9,698. This edition comes with special packaging and a wooden tag proving that the owner is a foot soldier in the Date or Ishida forces.

Fans who just want the standard headphones without the premium package (¥8,618) will be able to preorder at a later date. Delivery is scheduled for March 2016.

Monday 14 December 2015

News roundup: CD cover artwork, some event reports and a little merchandise

KobaP has been dropping some vague hints about news later today. I don't know whether it has anything to do with Sengoku Basara at all - his past hints have ranged from 'a new game is about to be introduced' to 'I'm going to retweet some cute comment from one of my friends' so it really could be anything, and he produces several different game series. Still, teasing keeps things interesting. Here are some actual news updates for now in case the hints turn out to be nothing after all.

The latest Sengoku Basara CD news

We now have the cover artwork for January's Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Warrior Themes Vocal Collection CD. A note adds that one of twelve (randomly-selected) trading cards will be included in each pack.

In addition, they have confirmed the videos included with the CD+DVD version. As previously hinted the DVD will include a special 'Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary' movie and promotional clips from Sengoku Basara, Sengoku Basara 2, Sengoku Basara 2 Eiyuu Gaiden (Heroes), Sengoku Basara X (Cross), Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes, Sengoku Basara 3, Sengoku Basara Chronicle Heroes, Sengoku Basara 3 Utage, Sengoku Basara HD Collection, Sengoku Basara 4 and Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi.

Speaking of CDs and cover artwork, the series' anniversary website has confirmed the cover for the Drama Yose CD Sengoku Basara -Date Masamune & Sanada Yukimura- disc which will be released in January. The preview includes a sample image of the first volume's Animate-exclusive keychain.

A range of pixel-style keyrings is released - exclusive to Animega

Ten of the series' most popular characters are the focus of this range of 40mm pixel art acrylic keychains which will be exclusive to the Animega chain of shops. The keychains should now be available for ¥500 each online and from stores (the official release date was 12th December 2015).

Series mascot Ashigaru-kun reports on some Sengoku Basara tie-ins

There have been two new Ashigaru-kun reports this week; one from the Capcom Bar to accompany the previous post and another from the recent Sengoku Basara Qualification exams. The Capcom Bar report simply summarises all of the other new dishes with short explanations about their inspirations from the bar's manager.

The exam report transcribes a moment from the official audio announcements before the test, which featured Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Souichirou Hoshi (Sanada Yukimura) acting in character. It sounds as though it would have been worth going just to experience that, if it wasn't so far away and difficult to attend for those of us outside Japan. Yukimura's loud, over-excited personality probably put the test candidates in a very strange mood!

For fun they also include a few sample questions from the first part of the test.
  • Sengoku Basara: Which of these does Uesugi Kenshin worship? Xavi, Fudou Myouou (Acala), Bishamonten or Christianity?
  • Sengoku Basara 3: With which power is Tokugawa Ieyasu trying to unite Japan? Money, weaponry, bonds or magic?
  • Sengoku Basara 4/Sumeragi: When Gotou Matabee uses his special move Gyakujou Yuuge No Rougoku, what kind of elemental effect does the finisher have? Fire, lightning, kuudere or every element?
(Some of the possible answers are silly, as you can see.)

The description of the second phase included more in-character announcements and more sample questions.
  • Sengoku Basara: Which of the following items gives a bonus to one particular character? Fourth Paddle, Blue Dragon Blade, Air Cannon, Forgot My Hammer!
  • Sengoku Basara 3/Utage: When Mitsunari equips his personal item, which of his special moves can be used with no time limit? Danzai, Kyoukou, Godbless or Messatsu Jigokusha?
  • Sengoku Basara 4/Sumeragi: Which of these is the correct line Yukimura speaks when he unleashes a Basara move when Maximum Style status is in effect? This question was presented as a listening problem so the candidates heard Yukimura speak each line. They were all similar except for a change in whether Yukimura started off by yelling 'Burn out!', 'Hot-blooded Eruption!', 'Burn, spears; roar, blazing explosion!' or 'Get hot!'.
(The answers to the questions were Bishamonten, bonds, lightning, Forgot My Hammer!, Kyoukou and the third dialogue option, but I'm sure a lot of readers knew that already.)

The Premium Bandai Sanada Yukimura Jacket will be available for a third time

If you have money to spare and want an unusual Yukimura-related item for your wardrobe, the third round of preorders have opened for the deluxe Yukimura jacket (with gloves) from Premium Bandai. The ¥100,000 price tag is unchanged. Preorders must be made before 12th January 2016 and the clothing will then be delivered in February.

Friday 4 December 2015

News roundup: Stage play updates, the Jump Festa schedule and another Basa-ranking poll

I should know better than to post that I don't expect much news for a while when it comes to this series...

The latest Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi stage play information

This winter's new stage play was the focus of this morning's updates and the details are all on the official homepage. Firstly, Nakayama Yuuki and Yamaguchi Tomoya, both of SOLIDEMO, will be joining the cast as members of Motochika's crew! It's a fun idea to bring two pop singers into the play as guest stars, and I hope it means that there will be some comical scenes (and maybe even songs?) for Aniki this time around. The two guest stars will come back on stage for a chat with the audience after the show on 29th January 2016.

The update also introduced preview pictures of Masamune (Shiono Akihisa), Yukimura (Matsumura Ryuunosuke) and Motochika (Shiramata Atsushi) in costume! You can see them all over at 4 Gamer if that's easier than the Twitter links.

There will be two short Sengoku Basara presentations at Jump Festa

We finally have the details for the Sengoku Basara stage presentations at this month's Jump Festa event courtesy of the Capcom website. They're scheduled for Saturday 19th December 2015 from 14:30 to 15:00, and Sunday 20th December 2015 from 10:40 to 11:10. That's not much time. They're specifically being described as news presentations, and the speakers will be KobaP and Ashigaru-kun (the little blue puppet mascot character who appears at some live events).

A closer look at the new Sengoku Basarai items on the Capcom Bar menu

Speaking of Ashigaru-kun, he's been busy featuring in the first of a series of reports about the new dishes on offer at the Capcom Bar in Shinjuku. The initial report covers the deluxe Sengoku Basara Battle Set and attempts to explain the connections between each of the characters and the types of food on offer. It's a little silly. There will be another report posted next week to show off more of the new menu items.

Share your Sengoku Basara love in another official ranking

It's already time for the second 'Basa-ranking' fan survey. The newest poll is asking everyone for their opinions on which previous Sengoku Basara title had the best gameplay mechanics.

To place your vote, visit this page and click the golden button underneath the picture of the game you want to select. You'll be asked to confirm your choice, then after a short time the game you picked will be highlighted in gold and your vote will be registered. The voting is open until noon on Christmas Day 2015 (Japan time) so don't delay!

More upcoming Sengoku Basara manga cover art appears

We now have a proper preview of the Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara manga cover artwork courtesy of e-Capcom. It's looking nice and colourful!

The cover artwork for the third volume of Mame Sengoku Basara 4 is also now available. It's sad to think that this will be the final book in the series.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

News roundup: Catching up on various things

There isn't much brand new information to report on at the moment, but there have been a lot of updates about previously-known projects. Here's a round-up to bring everything up to date. I'm not expecting much more news until Jump Festa in a few weeks since KobaP will probably want to save his updates for the stage presentation there.

Details for the upcoming Sengoku Basara radio show starring Hoshi Souichirou

Seiyuu Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) has been selected to host the Internet radio show which was first announced back in September. The main purposes of this series will be to promote the three new drama CDs and celebrate the tenth anniversary of Sengoku Basara, so they've picked a good person for the role.

Sengoku Basara -Nekketsu! Yose Raji!- ('Sengoku Basara: Hot-blooded! Variety Theatre Radio!') will begin its Animate TV broadcast run on 25th December 2015, then run on a fortnightly schedule with episodes every other Friday. There will be a special guest accompanying Hoshi each time, with Ishida Akira (Takenaka Hanbee) appearing in the first episode.

The preview information explains that there will be a 'Sengoku Basara's Ten Years, My Ten Years' segment which is for the listeners (and hosts) to reflect back on the last decade, and an 'Oyakata-samaa! I'm Coming Out!' segment where Hoshi will 'come out' on behalf of the listeners and say things they regret not having said themselves (please note that the English expression 'coming out' has a rather broader meaning in Japanese than it does in its original language).

Fan letters and contributions are being accepted at the official Animate TV page. If you want to send them a message, click the link with the orange background under the show's logo and fill in your pen name, e-mail address, location (the final option in the list is 'overseas'), sex (male, female), age, theme (normal letter, Sengoku Basara's Ten Years, My Ten Years, Oyakata-samaa! I'm Coming Out!) and finally, write your letter. The orange button will submit the form.

Fan club members can now purchase another batch of exclusive stickers

Members of the official BASARA CLUB fan club are being offered a new set of IC card stickers through the exclusive online store. Even though these won't be released for general purchase, they're cute so I wanted to share the news.

Win Sengoku Basara goods at Plaza Capcom locations across Japan

A second selection of gemstone bracelets is on the way in the form of amusement arcade prizes this winter. These follow the previous bracelets from February 2015. This time, there will be designs themed around Sanada Yukimura, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Chousokabe Motochika and Mouri Motonari.

Like before, there will also be another special prize available in the form of a metre-long toy replica of Mitsunari's blade Mumeitou: Haku ('Nameless Sword: White'). Customers can try to win the sword and bracelets from a selection of Capcom-affiliated arcades across Japan from mid-December 2015.

Sengoku Basara returns to the Namba Walk shopping centre in Osaka

Sasuke's secret mission in Osaka must have been a success earlier this year as the second half of the event has now been unveiled. This new 'episode' in the story is titled Osaka: Mysterious Rebellion ~Escape From Namba's Hidden Castle Town~ Side Story: Date Masamune And The Mysterious Fortress. As the title implies, this time Date Masamune is playing a central role.

Visitors will be tasked with solving the mystery in order to win the exclusive event cards shown below.

There will also be a photography corner, promotional videos and other fun activities at the Sengoku Basara booth. The event will run between 11:00 and 20:00 (last admission 19:00) on the following dates: 5th/6th December 2015, 30th/31st January 2016, 27th/28th February 2016 and 19th/20th March 2016.

Farewell, Mame Sengoku Basara 4

It doesn't feel as though it's been long since Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara manga finished and then relaunched as Mame Sengoku Basara 4, but now it seems as though even that is coming to an end. A tweet from Sumeragi previewed the latest chapter from November's Dengeki Maoh magazine and quietly mentioned that it was going to be the final episode of the series. This will leave Dengeki Maoh without any Sengoku Basara manga at all, so I'm guessing that YamamotoD's character background column will be disappearing as well (it wasn't included in the latest issue).

I hope we get more news about the upcoming Sengoku Basara Dokugan manga to soften the blow. It's weird that the series now has no manga serialisations running at all.

In happier manga-related news, Dengeki Maoh included a tiny preview picture showing the cover illustration for the compiled book version of Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara.

Prerelease information for next year's special Sengoku Basara vocal CD

The Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Warrior Themes Vocal Collection CD is now up for preorder on Amazon Japan, and as a result the singers can now be matched to their respective songs.

Date Masamune's Theme Song (YOFFY from Psychic Lover)
Sanada Yukimura's Theme Song (m.c AT)
Tokugawa Ieyasu's Theme Song (Miyazaki Ayumi)
Ishida Mitsunari's Theme Song (Shin Min-Chul)
Kasuga's Theme Song (Raychell)
Maeda Keiji's Theme Song (m.c AT)
Oda Nobunaga's Theme Song (Miyazaki Ayumi)
Tsuruhime's Theme Song (Ikio Ayaka)
Takenaka Hanbee's Theme Song (Shin Min-Chul)
Sen No Rikyuu's Theme Song (YOFFY from Psychic Lover)
Kyougoku Maria's Theme Song (Akita Chisato from KAMEN RIDER GIRLS)
Ashikaga Yoshiteru's Theme Song (Miyazaki Ayumi)

My guesses weren't very accurate... I hope we get some previews of the songs soon as I'm curious about how they'll sound (though I'm buying the CD even if they're terrible, of course).

The latest stage play DVD has been delayed by a few weeks

In case anyone is waiting for the Butai Sengoku Basara vs Devil May Cry DVD, which was supposed to be released a few weeks ago on 11th November, there has been some kind of unspecified production delay and it should ship soon. It hasn't been cancelled!


My copy of the Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Eiyuu Taizen: Kiwami encyclopaedia arrived earlier than expected and it's not quite as massive as I feared! It came in an unnecessarily cute box.

The book is loaded with pictures and staff comments, which are going to take me a while to go through. I'll read it properly when I'm more awake.

Hey, there are some familiar-sounding names in the selection of fan comments...