Friday, 30 October 2015

News roundup: A brand new Sengoku Basara tribute CD and more Basara Matsuri guests

They're not quite character songs - but Sengoku Basara is to inspire a full vocal album

This is pretty interesting and unexpected!

A press release went out today to reveal that the Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Warrior Themes Vocal Collection CD will be released on 20th January 2016 via the Avex Music Creative label. The price and product specifications have yet to be determined, but we do have a list of tracks that are planned for inclusion, composed from character themes that have been remixed and turned into vocal songs:

Date Masamune's Theme Song
Sanada Yukimura's Theme Song
Tokugawa Ieyasu's Theme Song
Ishida Mitsunari's Theme Song
Kasuga's Theme Song
Maeda Keiji's Theme Song
Oda Nobunaga's Theme Song
Tsuruhime's Theme Song
Takenaka Hanbee's Theme Song
Sen No Rikyuu's Theme Song
Kyougoku Maria's Theme Song
Ashikaga Yoshiteru's Theme Song

The artists who will be contributing to the album are as follows - it's really more of a tribute album than a traditional character vocal album:

m.c AT
Miyazaki Ayumi
YOFFY (from Psychic Lover)
Shin Min-Chul
Akita Chisato from KAMEN RIDER GIRLS
Ikio Ayaka

According to the announcement, the artists were carefully selected to match the motifs of each song.

As well as the twelve tracks listed above, SOLIDEMO's Sengoku Basara series anniversary song Toki Wo Koete ('Beyond Time') will be included for a total of thirteen songs. The CD will come with a DVD which is set to feature a tenth anniversary Sengoku Basara video clip (probably the one shown during the Nico Nico broadcast over the summer) and eleven additional clips made with footage from the games.

More musically-themed Basara Matsuri guests are announced

I knew it! This morning the following seiyuu guests were added to the list of those attending the Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Matsuri ~Feast of Ten Years, Ten Shades~ event in March 2016:

Morikawa Toshiyuki (Katakura Kojuurou)
Okamoto Nobuhiko (Shibata Katsuie)

The two actors will only be appearing for the Saturday performance. In addition, these recording artists will also be participating:

m.c AT
Miyazaki Ayumi
YOFFY (from Psychic Lover)
Akita Chisato from KAMEN RIDER GIRLS

Raychell and Akita Chisato will only be present for the Sunday show.

I'm curious about how this will work as part of the event; there are quite a few musical performers now and and it's looking as though this Basara Matsuri will have a unique atmosphere. It sounds fun!

Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi had 'solid' sales in Japan, according to Capcom

Fan OneSanitarium has found a few interesting statements in Capcom's latest English-language investor report. It looks as though Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi has been reasonably successful and even though we still don't have digital sales figures to allow us to speculate much more than that, they specifically mention that they were 'solid'. If their other series are struggling it would be lovely to imagine that they might eventually consider bringing the series west again, perhaps first as a digital-only title to minimise the risk...

News roundup: Historical events, Sengoku Basara food and manga releases

I was holding out for the third round of guests for Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Matsuri ~Feast of Ten Years, Ten Shades~, which KobaP has been teasing will be announced soon. I bet they reveal them in the morning now I've finally gone ahead and written up this post, especially since the fan club website is due for an update later too.

Visiting Japan? Check out these historically-themed events with Yukimura and Motochika

The first of the two most recently-announced events is themed around Sanada Yukimura and based around Ueda in the Nagano area, where there are famous historical sites relating to the Sanada clan almost everywhere you go. It's a sightseeing stamp rally event which will take place between 31st October and 29th November 2015. Last year's campaign was called Shinshuu Ueda x Sengoku Basara Stamp Rally ~Part 1 - Battle of Ueda: The Tokugawa Army Repelled~ and this year's has a suitably splendid name as well.

Shinshuu Ueda x Sengoku Basara: Sanada Pilgrimage Stamp Rally ~Conquer The Famous Sanada Locations~ requires participants to pick up (or download) a stamp rally map which has blank spaces for six stamps, conveniently marked by Yukimura, Mitsunari, Sasuke, Tadakatsu, Ieyasu and Masamune from Sengoku Basara. Each stamp is located at an important local landmark in the Ueda area and there are helpful tips for navigating to each location on the sheet itself. Once the sheet is complete, it can be exchanged for an exclusive A2 poster between 10:00 and 16:30 on the second floor of the Ueda City Tourism Centre. Participation is completely free.

Furthermore, if you take the time to complete an incredibly short survey when you submit your map, you'll also receive an exclusive commemorative card as shown below.

If you're more of an Aniki fan, the Chousokabe Motochika RALLY event is now in its fifth year and it will be running between 31st October 2015 and 31st January 2016. Visitors to Nankoku City (Kochi Prefecture) can pay ¥200 to participate in a 'quiz rally game' where they solve puzzles to uncover hidden checkpoints on a map, and it's all set against the backdrop of the real-life Chousokabe's birthplace. Participants will receive illustrated stickers and chances to win additional prizes as rewards for their hard work.

More details are available on the slightly strange Nankoku City Tourist Association website.

New Sengoku Basara food and drink is coming to the Capcom Bar

The Capcom Bar in Shinjuku has recently announced a major update to its menu, with a few items being discontinued and replaced by new versions starting from 2nd November 2015. They're also making it easier to drop in and try the bar out by relaxing the usual reservation system between 14:00 and 18:00 on weekdays. At the moment, you have to make a timed reservation which can be daunting if you're a foreign visitor without much knowledge of Japanese.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the new Sengoku Basara goodies that they have on offer to commemorate this update.

The six new food items are Kyougoku Maria's 'My Prisoner♪' Caesar Salad (¥830), Takenaka Hanbee's Ultimate Strategist Carpaccio (¥730), Katakura Kojuurou's Nutritious Root Vegetable Soup (¥580), Mouri Motonari's Nichirin A La Carte (¥780), Sarutobi Sasuke's Shuriken Green Tea Pudding (¥580) and the huge Sengoku Basara Battle Set (¥3,980). The description explains that it normally takes three or four people to 'clear' the Battle Set but diners can take it on single-handedly if they want to try 'Basara difficulty'. The items in the set include references to Masamune, Yukimura, Mitsunari, Ieyasu, Motochika, Motonari, Keiji and Yoshiteru.

Then for drinks, there's Date Masamune -TESTAMENT- (¥680), Sanada Yukimura -Senryou Hanabi- (¥780), Ishida Mitsunari -Battougiri- (¥680), Sen No Rikyuu -Nodate- (¥450), Chousokabe Motochika -Sabaki- (¥780) and Tokugawa Ieyasu -Aoi No Kiwami- (¥680). I know that it's completely in character, but the Rikyuu drink really doesn't look all that interesting for a novelty item. It supposedly comes with a fan-shaped coaster to make things more fun.

The popular Date Masamune akashiyaki and the recent Sakon/Katsuie dishes will remain on the menu after the update takes place.

Listings appear for the next batch of Sengoku Basara manga releases

These were revealed in the last volume of Sengoku Basara Magazine (which er, I still have to finish reviewing, don't I?) and now Manga Oh has provided a few additional details.

Tane Jugou's comical Wan-Nyan Sengoku Basara manga from Sengoku Basara Magazine will be collected into a single volume under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Comic EX label. It will be available on 19th December 2015, which happens to be the same day that Sumeragi's Mame Sengoku Basara 4 volume 3 is scheduled for release.

In addition, the third (and final) volume of Yoshihara Motoki's Sengoku Basara 4 manga is coming out very soon too as previously announced, so there are quite a few books to collect this winter!

Friday, 23 October 2015

News roundup: Halloween sales, a card game, elections and fortune-telling

KobaP has been dropping hints about this year's Jump Festa event, scheduled to be held in December. I don't expect any major Sengoku Basara announcements there, but it seems that there will be a stage presentation with the latest news. It's something to look forward to!

Receive a seasonal bonus when you buy Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi costume DLC

This is being billed as a seasonal Halloween special offer, so imagine my disappointment when I opened the full article and saw that there were no new Halloween-themed costumes as part of the deal. Bah!

Anyway, the purpose of the offer is to give customers who purchase sets of collaboration costume DLC a special bonus if they buy before 3rd November 2015. Each of the full sets of costumes (as shown at the link above) will be bundled with the DLC booster pack 'Weapons with inscriptions: 11 types, full set (large)'. The booster pack is worth ¥1,000 on its own so if you were planning on purchasing the DLC anyway and wanted to start off with some good weapons, it's a nice deal.

I guess the DLC hasn't been selling well enough to justify actual Halloween outfits this time....

Sengoku Basara cards feature in a tie-in campaign with Lord of Vermilion

The other big news earlier today was that Lord of Vermilion Re:3 is welcoming Sengoku Basara's Masamune and Yukimura to its card roster.

I was personally even happier seeing that the other game mentioned in the same announcement was Final Fantasy XIV - it's like they chose both of my favourite titles at once! While the Final Fantasy XIV tie-in is two-way and not entirely unexpected, the inclusion of the Sengoku Basara cards is more surprising. It seems that the game is planning to include a large number of crossover characters this time around.

Both Masamune and Yukimura have been illustrated by Naora Yuusuke and they're armed with their famous signature moves, adapted to fit the Lord of Vermilion setting.

There have been so many crossover illustrations over the last few years; I really wish they'd collect them all up in an art book for those of us who can't keep track of so many different card games.

Aniki encourages his fans in the Kochi area to vote for their next governor

Another recent announcement (also available fully translated into English) is that Sengoku Basara's Chousokabe Motochika is the next character to use his considerable charisma to help publicise real-world politics. A major campaign is underway in the Kouchi area to raise awareness of the region's gubernatorial election on 15th November 2015, and Motochika has been selected to appear on posters throughout the area. The design is certainly attention-grabbing!

(I wish they ran election campaigns like this in my country.)

Sengoku Basara gets several mentions in Capcom's annual report

Fan OneSanitarium sent me a link to a great report recently via All Games Beta which is particularly interesting if you're an English-speaking Sengoku Basara fan. The latter parts (from page 103 onwards) are completely dedicated to the history of the series with plenty of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, making it the first official translated material we've had in quite a while!

I'd already seen some of the information in Japanese interviews but the excitement of being able to see it all formally translated into English is a completely new experience. The writing style is quite candid and I think it gives a good impression of the challenges that the games' development teams have faced over the years. Do check it out if you get the chance.

The original source for the report appears to be the Capcom investor page here.

Divine your future with the characters of Sengoku Basara

Amazon Japan has listed a mysterious new book titled Sengoku Basara Rival Fortune-Telling. It's priced at ¥1,404 and due for release on 20th November 2015 from Wani Books. Interestingly, artist Yupon is credited with providing the illustrations; I wonder whether there will be some new One Coin Grande figures which use the new designs one day?

This isn't the first time that Sengoku Basara has inspired a fortune-telling book so the staff will have to work hard to set it apart from the previous volume. The listing explains that readers will be matched to one of 48 character types and given advice on work, love and future prospects.

Check out the Densetsu No Sutadonya dining collaboration with Capcom TV

The team at Capcom TV paid the Densetsu No Sutadonya restaurant chain a visit as part of their news coverage for episode 29 of the show, and for those of us who can't participate in person the video clip they produced is probably the next best thing. The shop's manager talks the viewers through each of the dishes and points out how they designed the dishes to match particular warriors from the series.

The report starts at around the 7:30 mark in the video.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Streaming: Autumn 2015 anime first impressions

I almost had a clean slate for the start of this season as the majority of the ongoing titles I was watching came to an end recently. Only Ushio To Tora and Gintama are continuing for now. Unfortunately, a lot of the new titles seem to be on the weaker side so it's mostly sequels to old favourites making it onto my schedule for the season. Perhaps I'm becoming harder to please, or perhaps there are just too many wobbly light novel adaptations which all blend together.

Crunchyroll started off with the strongest lineup and for once, they don't seem to have any new titles which are completely unavailable in the UK; Daisuki and Viewster have grabbed everything Crunchyroll missed out on getting proper rights for. Daisuki in particular have quite a few titles this time. As usual, Animax UK held their cards close to their chest and kept quiet about their simulcast plans until several weeks into the season, as though to force me to delay this post. Nothing has actually become available on their website yet though so I'm posting it anyway because I need to catch up with my life.

The awful vampires are back, yay!

Friday, 9 October 2015

News roundup: More about next year's Basara Matsuri and the next stage play DVD

The second batch of guests are announced for March's big live event

The official Sengoku Basara social media accounts have been teasing the announcement of more guests for Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Matsuri ~Feast of Ten Years, Ten Shades~ recently, and this morning the second news bulletin was finally posted.

There will be two musical guests at the event: Ishikawa Chiaki (Saturday only) and the pop group SOLIDEMO (both days). Ishikawa is a regular who has contributed a substantial number of songs to the series already, but if you haven't been keeping up with recent news you might not be familiar with SOLIDEMO's collaboration on the series' tenth anniversary theme song Toki Wo Koete. It's an interesting choice to feature a group like this at a Sengoku Basara event.

There are also a few new seiyuu guests to add to the already-generous roster. Nakamura Yuuichi (Shima Sakon) and Miki Shinichirou (Gotou Matabee) will be appearing on Saturday while veteran actor Wakamoto Norio (Oda Nobunaga) will be in the Sunday show.

There's been no mention of Nishikawa Takanori in the guest list so far, but I'd be very surprised if he isn't going to be included, especially with only one musical guest on Sunday. T.M.Revolution performances are one of the highlights of a good Basara Matsuri! He's famous enough to be able to have his own dedicated announcement later on and the guest lists advise that more performers will be added later on. We should see a third round of guests revealed in due course.

If you missed the first news about this event, the original guest list and schedule information can be found here.

Release information for the Sengoku Basara vs Devil May Cry stage play DVD

Those of us anxiously waiting to place our preorders for the Butai Sengoku Basara vs Devil May Cry stage play DVD will soon be able to relax now that Capcom have announced the release is definitely going ahead. The DVD version will cost ¥7,000 and go on sale on 11th November 2015, with preorders opening tomorrow in conjunction with the launch of the play's official online shop.

The set will include two DVDs. The first contains the show itself and lists a runtime of 183 minutes, while the second is for 118 minutes of bonus material, including footage from the curtain call of the grand finale, a summary of the 'after talk' sessions and some cast interviews. The first press version of the DVD will come with a special booklet as its bonus.

Edit 10/10/2015: The shop listing is now live and confusingly it gives a runtime of 167 minutes for the main feature with 119 minutes of bonus material. Even though there were subtitles for the live performances the disc is listed as being in Japanese only - I left a disappointed comment when I placed my order.

Streaming: Summer 2015 anime final impressions

This season has been a chaotic mess, with a disappointing number of shows announced at the start and then several more joining them every week as deals were done behind the scenes to liberate the licenses FUNimation was witholding from us. My personal life has been a nonstop whirlwind too - as the drop in the frequency of my blog updates shows - and I'm looking forward to finally having some time to catch up on my online life over the next few months. Hopefully.

The stars of the anime season have to be the folks at Viewster, who have been expanding their UK simulcast offerings at a phenomenal pace. Crunchyroll has been reliable for the titles they managed to license here while Daisuki at first seemed to be fading away like so many streaming services in the past. They acquired a few delayed broadcasts with little warning, though, turning things around for now.

The only thing stopping Viewster from being as good as Crunchyroll is the roll-out of their ad-free subscription, which so far seems rather costly and limiting for what I want. Still, it's early days yet and hopefully they'll consider an international-friendly digital-only subscription option for those of us who don't want to receive boxes of merchandise with our simulcasts. Meanwhile, Animax UK added a couple of 'simulcasts' (on an eight-week delay) without actually announcing them properly, but they still haven't managed to get organised enough to communicate their schedule to viewers.

My ranking hasn't changed much from the previous final impressions post since the continuing titles remained strong:

1. Arslan Senki
2. Gintama
3. Shokugeki No Soma

It should be called Daryun Senki, though.

I say that, then use a screenshot of someone else

Thursday, 8 October 2015

News roundup: Books, badges and the first online 'Basa-ranking' vote

Speak your mind in the first Sengoku Basa-ranking!

Capcom want to hear our opinions about Sengoku Basara, and what better way to do so than by launching a new voting system as part of the anniversary celebrations? The first ranking asks fans to pick which of the series' box art illustrations they liked the most. A special lock screen picture will be created from the winning image as a reward.

To vote, visit the Basa-ranking page here before noon on 5th November 2015, click on the option you like best then select 'OK' in the confirmation box. That's all you need to do!

There will be a variety of new rankings coming up in the future, so it will be a good idea to keep an eye on the anniversary website.

Release information for the next of the Sengoku Basara anniversary books

The special anniversary book I mentioned previously is now available for order ahead of its release later this month. Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Eiyuu Taizen: Kiwami ('Hero Encyclopaedia: Extreme') will be released on 28th October 2015 priced at a slightly awkward ¥4,104. The price is likely to reflect its size; if it's as large as the 5th Anniversary version this is going to be one hefty book.

According to the shop listings, the book is slated to include artwork, CGs and design illustrations for all 49 of the series' main characters. There will also be an 'Azure-Crimson interview' with actors Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune) and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura), comments on all of the characters written by KobaP and YamamotoD, congratulatory messages written by the cast, and of course the feedback from fans that Dengeki were asking about with the survey when the book was first announced.

Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Eiyuu Taizen: Kiwami can be purchased online from stores such as Amazon Japan, Ami Ami, CD Japan and Yesasia.

A first look at the exclusive merchandise for those taking the Sengoku Basara exam

We now have pictures of the unique merchandise that test-takers can obtain at the venue for the upcoming Sengoku Basara Qualification exam. As announced before there will be a choice of four acrylic key holders (¥1,000 each) and a set of two original clear files (¥1,000).

There's also a pack of five original postcards (¥1,000) and a pouch/hand mirror set (¥2,500).

To keep it special, the merchandise uses the new illustration which was created exclusively for the event. Whether they buy the merchandise or not, all candidates will receive quirky Sengoku Basara blotting paper to commemorate the occasion.

Show your Sengoku Basara love with a box of colourful embroidered badges

It wouldn't be a Sengoku Basara news post without revealing some kind of new merchandise, and today's is a set of ten 44mm badges forming the Sengoku Basara Embroidered Badge Collection α for ¥8,000 before tax. The set is scheduled for release on 17th December 2015 with reservations opening two weeks from now. The actual box will include twenty badges in total.

A sample shows how the badges will actually look with the embroidery stitching in place. Please note that this sample has a slightly different design to the Mitsunari badge shown above; they've simplified the design to make the writing more legible.

Details of the Sengoku Basara prizes diners can win at Densetsu No Sutadonya

The official Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi website updated recently to add details of the big Densetsu No Sutadonya tie-in which is currently running in Japan. It was first revealed back during the anniversary broadcast but the prizes you could win for collecting stamps at the restaurant chain hadn't been shown, so here we go.

A-rank prize: 10 sets of exclusive Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi x Densetsu No Sutadonya chopsticks

B-rank prize: 50 exclusive Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi x Densetsu No Sutadonya towels
C-rank prize: 100 exclusive Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi x Densetsu No Sutadonya clear files
D-rank prize: 100 exclusive Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi x Densetsu No Sutadonya screen cleaners

Photo report from the Oni Kojuurou Matsuri

The annual Oni Kojuurou festival took place in Shiroishi last weekend, and this time we're lucky enough to be able to read an English-language photo report courtesy of tumblr user yamanoshiro! If you are interested in Japanese events (or Kojuurou) I recommend checking it out. One day, I'll be in Japan at the right time to attend...

Mini-review: Sengoku Basara Pia ~10th Anniversary~

I received my copy of this mook today and gave it a quick read through before work. It's the size of a thick, full colour magazine - not bad for ¥1,296. The bonus calendar is constructed by popping out the individual pages and assembling them inside a flimsy cardboard frame.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to character profiles for all 49 of the major characters who have appeared over the history of the series. If you're one of the fans of the older, still-missing characters like Yoshimoto or Itsuki, you'll be pleased to know that they are given just as much attention as the main heroes. Each profile contains a picture (no new artwork), some simple statistics, historical information about the real people or theme that character is based upon and a random piece of trivia, which might be a gameplay tip, a fact about their design or a joke.

The main reason to buy Sengoku Basara Pia ~10th Anniversary~ is probably for the two special joint interviews with seiyuu Nakai Kazuya (Date Masamune), Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) and Koyasu Takehito (Sarutobi Sasuke), as well as series producer KobaP. The first of these (a joint interview with Nakai and Hoshi) is especially fun since it talks about their experiences as actors, and the two stars tease one another relentlessly every time they're together. The interviews are followed by very short messages from a variety of people who have worked on Sengoku Basara in its various forms, such as stage play actors Kubota Yuuki and Hosogai Kei and the staff who worked on the first anime adaptation.

There are also a bunch of rough sketches of Rikyuu dating back to the character design process which may be of interest to his fans if they passed on the Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi Official Complete Works book earlier in the year. Those who already own the Complete Works will notice a lot of material is duplicated throughout this volume.

In fact, the Complete Works books are what this release most resembles. This mook is almost like a low price 'best of' version of the existing Complete Works with its light summaries of releases, merchandise and events and a smattering of artwork from all of the previous games. It's not an essential addition to anyone's Sengoku Basara book collection, but if you want a reasonably priced, sturdy magazine to leaf through then it's a decent buy and it certainly does a good job of fitting with the anniversary theme. If you want something more comprehensive it might be a good idea to wait for the Sengoku Basara 10th Anniversary Eiyuu Taizen: Kiwami instead.

Sengoku Basara Pia ~10th Anniversary~ can be purchased from all good import stores such as Amazon Japan, CD Japan and Yesasia.

(I promise I will post a review of the last Sengoku Basara Magazine soon - I've been too busy lately to do much more than work on a few pages at a time but it's almost finished!)