Thursday, 28 April 2016

News roundup: A new gameplay video, plus Yukimura trains and Mitsunari pizza

There wasn't much to report about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den last week; there were no new magazine articles and the last website update only added sound clips for the playable characters - most significantly meaning we were able to hear Sanada Nobuyuki (Hosoya Yoshimasa) and Sanada Masayuki (Ootsuka Houchuu) speaking for the first time.

Then KobaP dropped a hint that there would be some news at the end of the week, so I deliberately held my news roundup back to see what it was. Rather excitingly, the very first promotions for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den have been unveiled - and today we finally get to see the new character in action.

The second gameplay video for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den arrives

This trailer gives us a very welcome taste of the new fighting styles used by Sanada Masayuki and Nobuyuki.

Fans in the Kansai region can soon ride on a Sanada Yukimura-den train

A major collaboration has been announced between Capcom and the Nankai Electric Railway, which operates across regions associated with the Sanada family historically. The Sengoku Basara x Nankai Electric Railway: Summer Siege ~ Sanada Yukari No Chi He Iza Shutsujin~ campaign will run from 27th May to 30th August 2016 (the official webpage is scheduled to launch in a couple of weeks).

As part of the celebration, Tenkuu sightseeing trains on the Kouya Flower Railway will be decorated with Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den artwork and the Ueda Electric Railway 'Sanada Dream Train' will be given a special Sengoku Basara Head Mark plate. The designs of the train wrappings will change on the 1st July and again on the 29th July, so fans who live nearby are encouraged to keep checking their local stations to see which characters go on display.

(Reading between the lines, perhaps this also means we'll get monthly character reveals since the way it's phrased implies the two future designs will have different characters?)

The Tenkuu trains will also offer commemorative photograph opportunities with pictures (probably standees) of the characters in the reserved seating carriage.

And travellers will be able to enter a mobile stamp rally contest using their Tenkuu tickets and QR codes located large standees in select station.

The standees are shown below. They're located in the Namba, Kudoyama, Gokurakubashi/Kouyasan (both stations have the same design) and Ueda Electric Railway Bessho Onsen stations, from left to right.

Prizes include hotel stays, cast autographs, an exclusive wallpaper and the Sanada Yukimura Sengoku Basara Carry Case which was briefly available from e-Capcom last year.

That's not all! The Kudoyama Sanada Museum is handing out exclusive train-themed clear files to the first 10,000 fans who visit and purchase a ticket between 27th May and 30th August 2016.

And there will be commemorative tickets available at Nankai Electric Railway stations, with special designs.

Lastly, seiyuu Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) will accompany series producer KobaP for a talk show as part of a special two-day sightseeing tour on 11th and 12th June 2016. The theme of the tour will naturally be the historical Sanada clan, but I'm sure there's a possibility they'll talk about the new game as well.

An exhibition (and talk show) is announced for Sanada Yukimura-den

The Sanada Juuyuushi Garden Place in Ueda will be hosting a special Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den exhibition from 23rd April through to 25th September 2016. Entry is free, and the attractions announced so far include a presentation board explaining the game, Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den promotional videos and standees of Masamune, Yukimura, Masayuki and Nobuyuki.

Most importantly, there will be a free talk show to discuss the game which will be headed up by KobaP and Hoshi Souichirou. The talk show will take place on Saturday 30th July 2016; hopefully there will be some interesting gossip shared on Twitter by those lucky enough to attend.

Sweets Paradise is to offer a limited Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den tie-in menu

A collaboration has been announced between the Sengoku Basara series and the Sweets Paradise chain of cake buffet restaurants popular with young people (especially girls). Between 28th April and 26th June 2016, visitors to the Sweets Paradise branch in Shibuya's Parco Part3 building will be able to order special Sengoku Basara items from the Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den x Sweets Paradise Sanada Cafe menu to accompany their usual fare of bottomless cakes and pasta.

There will also be themed decorations in the restaurant to make the visit more fun, and special merchandise including these ¥500 randomly-packed tin badges:

And these ¥800 acrylic keychains:

There are eight different badges and keychains (one design is secret). Fans who spend more than ¥1,500 on merchandise will be eligible to win additional Sengoku Basara goodies such as t-shirts.

The main food menu contains five dishes to choose from priced at ¥1,200 each: Sanada YukimuRamen, Date Masamune's white omrice, Setouchi-don, Ishida Mitsunari's quattro formaggio pizza or Rokumonsen takoyaki.

The drink options include mysterious ¥800 beverages named after Masamune, Yukimura, Masayuki and Nobuyuki or a Sengoku Basara bushou caffè latte, which comes decorated with one of nine possible designs.

The ¥1,000 dessert menu features Date Masamune's COOL shaved ice, Maeda Keiji's festival parfait and Tokugawa Ieyasu's bond parfait.

Discounts are available if you order combinations of menu items (for example, a meal with a drink and dessert only costs ¥2,600). If you follow the official Sengoku Basara account on the LINE messaging service, you can show the staff to receive free Haagen-Dasz ice cream during your visit as well.

Customers who order from the tie-in menu will receive bonus items from a selection of sticker and coaster designs which will change three times over the course of the campaign. There are previews of the first batch of the rewards but the next sets are currently unrevealed. First, the stickers:

And here are the coasters:

A report from the store can be found here.

(Hey, it's a Yukimura-den themed event so can we leap to conclusions about which characters they picked for the food items and act disappointed if they don't turn up in the actual game?)

The Capcom Cafe will be launching a Sengoku Basara campaign in the near future

Speaking of food, the Capcom Cafe has announced that its third batch of themed dishes and merchandise will be based on Sengoku Basara.

The cafe is located near Koshigaya Lake Town station in Saitama, and more details about the tie-in should be available soon. In the meantime, there will be a special selection of Capcom Cafe merchandise available at Tokushima's annual Machi☆Asobi pop culture event on 3rd and 4th May 2016, including early access to the Capcom Cafe x Sengoku Basara items below.

A clear file for ¥500 (the picture shows that it's printed to hide the background when you place paper inside):

Large acrylic key holders for ¥1,000 each:

A tote bag for ¥1,500:

A mini towel for ¥500:

Various tin badges for ¥300 each (they're randomly given out as gacha prizes):

That's not all that Capcom has planned for the series at Machi☆Asobi. There will also be a Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den exhibition! They're really promoting the game heavily now the new characters have been revealed at last.

Sengoku Basara teams up with mobile game SENTAMA for a competition

The latest minor gaming crossover event announced for Sengoku Basara is with DeNA's tactical combat smartphone game SENTAMA. Until 9th May 2016, SENTAMA players will be able to encounter six Sengoku Basara characters in the game: Masamune, Yukimura, Mitsunari, Ieyasu, Kojuurou and Sasuke. There will be other bonuses and incentives during the campaign, and you can see the full character artwork on the Dengeki website.

Fans will also be able to celebrate the game's first anniversary with a giveaway of six copies of the PS4 edition of Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi.

What makes the prizes special is that they have been signed by one of the series' popular voice actors: Nakai Kazuya (Masamune), Hoshi Souichirou (Yukimura), Seki Tomokazu (Mitsunari), Ookawa Tooru (Ieyasu), Morikawa Toshiyuki (Kojuurou) or Koyasu Takehito (Sasuke).

In addition, fans who follow the official SENTAMA Twitter account will be eligible to enter a retweet campaign this week to give away exclusive stickers and in-game gold.

The Sengoku Basara: DOKUGAN manga officially begins its run

This week marks the release of the first issue of Young Champion magazine to include a chapter of Sengoku Basara: DOKUGAN, which means the manga has officially begun! To celebrate, two new promotional images have been unveiled.

The 41-page first chapter is being given star billing in the magazine with a colour splash page and so far the reception from readers seems positive.

An update for the upcoming stage play's official website

July is gradually getting closer and the first teaser video for the Zangeki Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi: Honnouji No Hen play was released last week. The official website was also refreshed; they're using photographs of the actors in costume this time rather than CG artwork from the game series. It's nice.

Even though most of these updates happened a while ago they were in the news again on Friday due to another announcement: additional actors and guests!

The stage play's full cast list is now as follows (newcomers are in bold, while newly-announced cast members are in italics):

Shiono Akihisa (Date Masamune)
Matsumura Ryuunosuke (Sanada Yukimura)
Inoue Masahiro (Katakura Kojuurou)
Shiina Taizou (Sarutobi Sasuke)
Isaka Tatsuya (Maeda Keiji)
Shiramata Atsushi (Chousokabe Motochika)
Taniguchi Masashi (Akechi Mitsuhide)
AKIRA (Uesugi Kenshin)
Mamoru Asana (Saika Magoichi)
Juri (Sen No Rikyuu)
Shiozaki 'IRE' Airu (Gotou Matabee)
Karahashi Mitsuru (Oda Nobunaga)
Saitou Shuusuke (Shima Sakon)
Nakayama Yuuki (Hisahiko)
Yamaguchi Tomoya (Takezou)

Saitou Shuusuke is new to the cast and taking over from Katou Keisuke, who played Sakon in his only other appearance in the series. Nakayama Yuuki and Yamaguchi Tomoya are the two performers from boy band SOLIDEMO who appeared in the same roles as members of Aniki's crew in the previous play. It's good to have them back.

In addition, three of the series' most popular voice actors are now scheduled to appear during the brief bonus talk shows at the end of the play. Hayami Shou (Akechi Mitsuhide/Tenkai) is the special guest on 5th July, Morita Masakazu (Maeda Keiji) will appear on 6th July and Hoshi Souichirou (Sanada Yukimura) will take to the stage on 9th July.

Last but not least, the first proper promotional video includes some nice glimpses of the fun and hard work behind the scenes.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Streaming: Spring 2016 anime first impressions

Even setting aside the matter of whether the individual shows are good or mediocre, this season marks a huge change in the viewing experience for anime fans based in the UK and Ireland. After moaning after them in every first impressions post since I started this blog Funimation have finally sorted themselves out and opened their simulcast offerings up to fans in my country. This has virtually doubled my access to streaming anime overnight and to make things even better the service they offer is actually good, with basic features like schedules, social media notifications and a decent browser video player all up and running on their beta website. When their apps are ready the Funimation Now service will be as good as Crunchyroll and I dearly hope that the day will eventually come where everyone outside Japan has proper access to legal streams.

It's not all happy news though. Viewster's anime streaming enterprise has completely self-destructed, ruining my hope of a multilingual, pan-European service to rival Hulu in the US. Animax UK hasn't managed to license anything at all this season which makes their reason to exist questionable (arguably a good thing; their service is so poor that they couldn't organise a bun fight in a bakery). The Anime Network have continued licensing UK exclusives (ok, one show) but aren't doing a very convincing job of justifying their price tag for anyone living outside their core market. Meanwhile Daisuki continue to hang around, and while they have no content I'm interested in for the spring season I hope that their situation doesn't change. There's also a worrying trend brewing with big announcements from Amazon and Netflix which I'll be talking about more later on.

Politics aside, it's ultimately the quality of the anime which matters and I've managed to watch at least one episode of everything I'm likely to have access to by now. So here are my first impressions.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

News roundup: The DOKUGAN manga, books and a silly character ranking

The upcoming Sengoku Basara: DOKUGAN manga now has a launch date

The Sengoku Basara tenth anniversary website has revealed that Nekoi Yasuyuki's Sengoku Basara: DOKUGAN modern day alternate universe manga now finally has a start date. It's been a long time coming; the manga was first announced last July for a winter release date!

As previously announced, the manga will be serialised in Akita Shoten's Young Champion magazine (released on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month). DOKUGAN will begin its run on 26th April 2016 and it's billed as a heroic story of swords and bikes in the land of Hinomoto. It's the year 0011 in the BASARA calendar, and Oushuu has been forced to yield to rule by Ushuu's Mogami Yoshiaki and his tyranny. Against that backdrop, a one-eyed man with a wild motorbike appears...

Since it's been a while I'll repost the older teaser images again too showing Masamune with his bike too.

I'm very curious to see which other Sengoku Basara characters will be making appearances too.

The Sengoku Basara 3 novels are returning in omnibus form

I was browsing the Mangaoh website yesterday and noticed that a listing had appeared for a new novel titled Sengoku Basara 3: Sanada Yukimura & Sarutobi Sasuke No Shou ('Sanada Yukimura & Sarutobi Sasuke Chapter'). Digging deeper I found that it was also showing up on Amazon Japan, and piecing the details together it seems that it's an omnibus edition of two previous books, Nozaki Masato's Sengoku Basara 3: Sanada Yukimura No Shou ('Sanada Yukimura Chapter') and Sasahara Shio's Sengoku Basara 3: Sarutobi Sasuke No Shou ('Sarutobi Sasuke Chapter'). Amazon's more detailed listing advises that the new book will be 560 pages long and cost ¥994 when it's released on 13th May 2015. The publisher is Kodansha via their Kodansha Bunko label this time (the previous Sengoku Basara 3 stories were published as premium Kodansha BOX editions so this new version will be much more affordable).

Amazon's description boasts that this is the first in four monthly releases, so it sounds as though all eight of the old Kodansha BOX novels will be getting the omnibus treatment this summer. The timing of the Yukimura and Sasuke volume leading the way makes me think they want to hint that Sasuke might be returning for Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den. Am I reading too much into things? (Yes.)

The final standings are published for the 7-Eleven 'character ranking'

The first round of the Print Charamide Sengoku Basara ~Jindori Gassen!~ ('Base-grabbing Battle!') campaign in Japanese 7-Eleven stores is now over, and as promised the website has published the rankings for the characters based on how many pictures each team sold. Please don't take this too seriously as being able to sell individual ¥150 pictures is more a mark of how devoted each character's fans are than a precise measurement of popularity - but still, there are some grains of truth amongst the crazier results. The placement of the Toyotomi army at the top is no big surprise.

7-Eleven kindly broke down the individual rankings within each 'army' so people can see how well their favourite character did.

1st: Conqueror Kings
1. Ishida Mitsunari
2. Shima Sakon
3. Ootani Yoshitsugu
4. Takenaka Hanbee
5. Toyotomi Hideyoshi

2nd: Manly Men
1. Sarutobi Sasuke
2. Sanada Yukimura
3. Takeda Shingen
4. Shimazu Yoshihiro
5. Miyamoto Musashi
6. Honganji Kennyo

3rd: Setouchis
1. Chousokabe Motochika
2. Mouri Motonari
3. Tsuruhime
4. Tenkai
5. Saika Magoichi
6. Kobayakawa Hideaki

4th: Oushuus
1. Date Masamune
2. Katakura Kojuurou
3. Shibata Katsuie
4. Itsuki
5. Mogami Yoshiaki

5th: Demon Lords
1. Azai Nagamasa
2. Akechi Mitsuhide
3. Oichi
4. Oda Nobunaga
5. Nouhime
6. Mori Ranmaru

6th: Regional Lords
1. Amago Haruhisa
2. Anegakouji Yoritsuna
3. Utsunomiya Hirotsuna
4. Nanbu Harumasa
5. Naoe Kanetsugu
6. Satake Yoshishige

7th: Emperors
1. Matsunaga Hisahide
2. Ashikaga Yoshiteru
3. Sen No Rikyuu (Sabisuke)
4. Sen No Rikyuu (Wabisuke)
5. Kyougoku Maria
6. Yamanaka Shikanosuke

8th: Bonds
1. Fuuma Kotarou
2. Tokugawa Ieyasu
3. Honda Tadakatsu
4. Tokugawa Ieyasu (young version)
5. Ii Naotora
6. Houjou Ujimasa

9th: Three 'bee's
1. Gotou Matabee (version 2)
2. Takenaka Hanbee (version 2)
3. Kuroda Kanbee (version 2)

10th: Loves
1. Maeda Keiji
2. Kasuga
3. Matsu
4. Maeda Toshiie
5. Uesugi Kenshin
6. Imagawa Yoshimoto

11th: Kyuushuus
1. Gotou Matabee
2. Kuroda Kanbee
3. Ootomo Sourin
4. Tachibana Muneshige
5. Xavi

12th: Sengoku Gourmet Association
1. Katakura Kojuurou (version 2)
2. Kobayakawa Hideaki (version 2)
3. Matsu (version 2)

13th: Tiger-users
1. Sanada Yukimura (version 2)
2. Utsunomiya Hirotsuna (version 2)
3. Ii Naotora (version 2)

While the Toyotomi army is arranged exactly as their relative popularity appears from where I'm standing, the 'Manly Men' were a surprise; Sasuke did better than Yukimura! Other surprises included Ieyasu coming below Kotarou, eternally-doomed Nagamasa triumphing in the Oda bracket and Masamune's army getting crushed; it had some weaker members but fourth place is still pretty bad for a main character with such a natural advantage. The eternal rivalry between Motonari and Motochika has resulted in Aniki doing better this time, making up for his loss in the old BSR48 survey. None of the girls did all that well which is a shame (and possibly a side effect of the ranking being generated in such an eccentric fashion; the campaign might not have connected so well with male fans). The characters who had more than one picture available may have suffered from their 'votes' being split between both versions.

There are some happy results from this survey; if I'm understanding the rules correctly it means that obscure characters such as Tsuruhime, Nouhime, Ranmaru, Yoshihiro and Itsuki could be appearing on the tiny pieces of merchandise available through a follow-up campaign in July. It's been almost forever since some of them had any merchandise and Gyoubu doesn't usually get much either even though he has a hardcore following in his own right. Congratulations to their fans!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

News updates: Some additional Yukimura-den information from today's website updates

This was going to be a quick update but it turned out there was more news to report than I expected after all! Please forgive mistakes as I didn't give myself much time to check this before work.

A few extra details about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den

As anticipated the official Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den website updated this morning with new screenshots and character profile sections. Yukimura's page has two tabs on it now. It seems that the new costume revealed in Weekly Famitsu is being called his Hinokaku ('Scarlet Horns') outfit, while the flashier clothing is the Phoenix version. The site confirms the phonetic reading for his 'Heavenly Wings' mode is Tenha.

They also included details of one additional move for each of the three characters profiled yesterday.

Yukimura: Rekkaen 烈火炎 ('Raging Blaze') - Yukimura lunges forward and delivers a furious combo attack. Bashing the button increases the number of blows. By timing the final button press well, it's possible to initiate Heavenly Wings mode.

Masayuki: Magarigoma 曲独楽 ('Twisting Top') - Masayuki attacks by rotating like a spinning top, kicking his enemies up into the air. By following up with a teleport or by drawing the flying soldiers in, he can also move his enemies around.

Nobuyuki: Tokakuri 兎狩里 ('Rabbit-hunting Village') - A showy attack where Nobuyuki violently kicks with his knee, spins the ladder spear once and strikes. If the player holds the button down Nobuyuki will grab his opponents and take out all of the enemies in front of him at once.

Articles with the new information can also be found on Japanese gaming websites such as 4Gamer, Dengeki Online, Famitsu, Gamer and Inside.

Sengoku Basara finally receives an official LINE account

Capcom have announced that there's now an official Sengoku Basara account fans can follow on the LINE social networking service to receive news and updates. They can also communicate with the account and it will respond based on keywords such as the names of Sengoku Basara characters (so far they seem to react with a quote and a picture - I tried digging for secret information about the new game but there doesn't seem to be any).

In addition, followers will get to see special images; the first one available through the account is this Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den illustration by Sengoku Basara 3 Bloody Angel artist Itou Ryuu. Fans outside Japan can follow the official LINE account too, though all of the messages will be in Japanese for obvious reasons. To view the images, browse to the account through your Friends list and click on their profile; their gallery will be shown in the corner and you can download the new picture there.

More Sengoku Basara masking tape appears on e-Capcom

Two sets of printed masking tape have been revealed on the e-Capcom online store as part of the ongoing CAPCOM x B-SIDE LABEL collaboration. The Azure-Crimson and Sekigahara designs will be released on 23rd June 2016 and each set of two 10m rolls costs ¥800 before tax.

A second chance to own one of those elusive Sengoku Basara wristwatches

Those INDEPENDENT x Sengoku Basara Citizen watches are returning to e-Capcom for another round of preorders. At the time of writing the only two still available seem to be Yukimura and Sakon for ¥23,000 each (before tax) but it might be a good idea to keep checking if you want to try to order one.

Fans in the UK can finally see Sengoku Basara: Judge End legally!

I imagine that this news is of interest to approximately nobody but after waiting patiently for ages UK anime fans finally have access to the Sengoku Basara anime back catalogue via legal streaming. This also rights the wrong of UK-based fans having been completely unable to watch Sengoku Basara: Judge End (or End of Judgement, or JUDGEMENT; there are several official English titles) legally since it was released almost two years ago. If you're in the UK or Ireland, please check the official Funimation streams out as they show there's demand for the series, and send Funimation your feedback! It's important that we support it so that Judge End can get a decent release in the west. I wish they hadn't labelled it as 'season 3' though.

And one more update about the new art book

A tweet from the staff at Dengeki Maoh shows how some of the pictures in the Sengoku Basara Motoki Yoshihara Illustrations art book can be compared with the original versions the artist posted on Twitter. I found it interesting!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

News: A summary of Weekly Famitsu's Sengoku Basara Sanada Yukimura-den article

As promised in yesterday's preview, the 21st April 2016 issue of Weekly Famitsu magazine contained a six-page article about the upcoming Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den game. This marks the official unveiling of the two new playable characters, Sanada Masayuki and Sanada Nobuyuki.

Here's a quick recap of what we know so far, for the benefit of those coming in late:

Release date: September 2016
Platforms: PS3 and PS4
Number of players: 1
Playable characters: Sanada Yukimura, Sanada Masayuki, Sanada Nobuyuki, Date Masamune
Genre: Stylish HERO action (Weekly Famitsu just calls it 'action')
Retail price: Unconfirmed
CERO age rating: Unconfirmed
Theme song: T.M.Revolution's Committed RED
Series producer: Kobayashi 'KobaP' Hiroyuki
Series director: Yamamoto 'YamamotoD' Makoto
Producer: Nonaka Daizou
Director: Tanaka Toshihiro

The official website with videos and pictures can be found here and it's likely to update on Thursdays, though videos seem to go up whenever they're ready rather than on a schedule. I explained the name of the game and what's being called the 'Sengoku Basara Retsuden Series' here but in the absence of an official English title I'm using the Japanese name for now.

So, what's new from the magazine article? It's confirmed that the game's story will follow Yukimura's life up until the Osaka Summer Siege, and the theme of this article is Yukimura in his youth and the movesets/stories of the two new characters. The player will take control of the two new characters at certain points in the story. Three R2 special moves have been revealed for each of the characters and I've listed these below their profiles.

Sanada Yukimura 真田幸村
Character image phrase: 天覇絶槍 Ten Ha Zessou ('Spears Reigning Supreme In The Heavens')
Seiyuu: Hoshi Souichirou
Weapon: Dual spears
Playable: Yes
Description: The second son of Masayuki, head of the Shinshuu Ueda Sanada clan. Yukimura possesses a blazing spirit and a powerful desire to support the Sanada family. Having learnt a great deal about surviving in this era of war from his father and older brother, he too encounters a multitude of warriors over the course of his heroic life.

Ippongi 一本気 ('Single-minded): Yukimura links both of his spears together to thrust with all his might. It can be used to sweep away enemies standing in a line. If you chain into it from Heavenly Wings mode, it will turn into a ranged spinning kick.

Funten 噴天 ('Erupting Skies'): With his spears blazing, Yukimura launches the enemy. By holding down the button you can follow up with a kick attack. This move can also be used to initiate Heavenly Wings mode.

Senpuu 閃風 ('Flashing Wind'): An energetic spinning attack which instantly blasts surrounding enemies away. By holding down the button, it's possible to continue attacking using the enemy soldiers as stepping stones.

Notes: This younger version of Yukimura has a different red/white costume to the one we're used to but he's otherwise pretty similar to the passionate guy we're all used to by now. His dual-wielding action is said to have been 'powered up' with this game.

One new feature is that Yukimura can be bathed in a bright red aura called 'Heavenly Wings' mode which the player has to activate by pressing the buttons at the right time after Yukimura's regular and special moves. While Yukimura is in this state he can hurtle around the battlefield performing aerial attacks at very high speeds, flitting from target to target in quick succession.

Sanada Masayuki 真田昌幸
Character image phrase: 奇喜喝采 Kiki Kassai ('Weird And Wonderful Ovation)
Seiyuu: Ootsuka Houchuu
Weapon: Short spear
Playable: Yes
Description: Distinguished by his western-style clothing, Masayuki is a senior retainer to the Takeda clan. He's nicknamed 'The Magician' due to his reputation as an extraordinary strategist brimming with resourcefulness. Taking his positions as head of the Sanada clan and a father into account, Masayuki stands on the battlefield in person to demonstrate his way of life for his sons, Nobuyuki and Yukimura.

Itatsuki 板つき ('Taking To The Stage'): An instant movement attack to fool the enemy. Throwing the short spear at his opponent, Masayuki instantaneously warps at the moment it makes contact and follows up with another attack.

Ooirisen 大入り銭 ('Full House Coins'): The short spear comes hurtling out of Masayuki's hat and flies around, forming a sphere shape. It's possible to affect the direction of the spear while you're pressing the button.

Shushugaeshi 種々がえし ('Mixed Reversal'): A special technique where Masayuki tosses his hat up into the air and has it suck the nearby enemies inside. It's possible to control the hat while the button is being held down.

Notes: He introduces himself as the Magician of Sengoku. Although he uses a spear like his son Yukimura, Masayuki's gameplay is completely different, making liberal use of tricky, outlandish attacks. He can close gaps and appear in unexpected places by teleporting, and he utilises a fun, magic-themed fighting style. It isn't mentioned in the text but his spear seems to have a gunbai war fan built into it (similar to the design of Shingen's axe).

Sanada Nobuyuki 真田信之
Character image phrase: 獅士奮刃 Shishi Funjin ('Lion Warrior's Spirited Blade')
Seiyuu: Hosoya Yoshimasa
Weapon: Ladder spear
Playable: Yes
Description: Nobuyuki is the eldest son of the head of the Sanada clan, and Yukimura's older brother. He wields his spear heroically in battle with tremendous courage, and the fear that his presence instills in his enemies has earned him the nickname 'Lion of Shinano'. Seeking the strength to survive in this turbulent era, he stays focus on what's ahead and pushes forwards, driven by his conviction.

Kouga 刻牙 ('Carving Fangs'): Nobuyuki thrusts his spear into the enemies in front of him and forcefully flings them up into the sky. If the button is held down, he'll follow up with another attack where the grabbed enemies will be smashed back down into the ground.

Mitto 蜜登 ('Honey Climb'): A leaping technique using the ladder spear. Nobuyuki stabs the spear into the ground along with an enemy soldier. He then jumps high into the air from the top of the ladder to land with full force.

Juuoushin 獣央芯 ('The Beast Within'): A spinning attack where Nobuyuki twirls his weapon, grabbing enemy soldiers. When the grabbed enemies are released they're flung away spectacularly.

Notes: He introduces himself as Sanada 'Genzaburou' Nobuyuki. The captions describe him as the Sanada clan's foremost 'power fighter', and the article explains that his colossal weapon is called a ladder spear because of its shape. The essence of his fighting style is said to be the way he can toss enemies around and chain powerful attacks to brutally batter his opponents. Holding down the button will allow him to grab the enemy and hit them away with his weapon to turn them into projectiles. Continuing to attack the enemy then flinging them away lets Nobuyuki perform unusual combos.


The next two pages are all about scenes from the game's story. They confirm that several other Sengoku Basara characters will appear in the game but there's no indication whether any of them will be playable, so please bear that in mind. Personally, I suspect they'll be unplayable unless there are additional modes we don't know about yet. I also imagine that Katsuyori is going to be in the game as a non-playable character given that his existence is pivotal to the following scenes.

On the subject of other characters, there's a quote from KobaP which says "There's a strong possibility that characters with a connection to Yukimura will appear in the game..." in the article, so make of that what you will.


With the destruction of the Takeda at stake, the Sanada clan takes to the battlefield.

At the start of the part of the story featured in the article, the Sanada clan are retainers to the Takeda clan. After the renowned warrior and 'tiger' Takeda Shingen has passed away, leadership of the Takeda clan is passed down to his son Takeda Katsuyori. However, Katsuyori is taken prisoner by Oda Nobunaga. Masayuki, Nobuyuki and Yukimura split up into three groups and rush towards Tenmokuzan to try to rescue their lord. Thus begins the tale of the heroic Sanada clan.

Yukimura is shown participating in the battle in the first few pictures, but the majority of the story scenes focus on his family members.

Masayuki confronts Maeda Toshiie and Shibata Katsuie, both of whom are working side by side in the Oda Army at this point in time. A caption points out that Toshiie's hot-blooded manliness and Katsuie's coolness make them very different but they're working together to stop the Sanada clan from advancing to Tenmokuzan. Masayuki has to fend off their ferocious attacks and try to make it to Takeda Katsuyori.

Below that, Tokugawa Ieyasu is shown clashing with Sanada Nobuyuki as he tries to make it to Tenmokuzan on his own. The quotes reveal that even though they're on opposing sides at the time, Ieyasu is trying to persuade Nobuyuki to come along with him and meet his current master, Nobunaga.

The final set of screenshots show Masayuki facing off against Oda Nobunaga and Akechi Mitsuhide alone, with Nobunaga pointing his gun straight at Masayuki's head. Katsuyori is being held captive in a cavern at Tenmokuzan while Nobunaga is urging Masayuki to abandon his lord and join the Oda forces instead. To save Katsuyori, Masayuki will have to face both Nobunaga and Mitsuhide together.

On the very last page a new stage is officially confirmed: Tenmokuzan. It's a creepy stage suited to the 'Demon King' Oda Nobunaga, with skulls and other macabre imagery looming in the darkness.


That's all for now, however it's extremely likely that the official website will update in a few hours with some of the information from the magazine. We sometimes get a few additional pictures that way so I'll be checking it out when I wake up!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

News roundup: A first glimpse at new characters Sanada Masayuki and Nobuyuki

Famitsu teases the long-awaited Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den update

It's finally time for the hype to begin! A preview of this Thursday's Weekly Famitsu magazine was posted today to confirm that it will include a six-page feature article about Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura-den with details about Sanada Yukimura's father Masayuki and older brother Nobuyuki. The preview includes a picture of the Sanada family members together, and adds that the game is scheduled for release in September 2016.

I'll post a full update tomorrow once I've had the opportunity to read the final magazine article but in the meantime BlackKite has kindly translated some additional information from the usual leaks here.

Hosoya Yoshimasa, eh? I'm pleased. The designs look crazy but I'll withhold judgement until I see a larger version.

The 7-Eleven 'character ranking' updates with interim results

The current standings for the silly Print Charamide Sengoku Basara ~Jindori Gassen!~ ('Base-grabbing Battle!') campaign running in Japanese 7-Eleven stores have now been published. In a twist nobody could have seen coming (I'm kidding), the popular Toyotomi army has taken an early lead after selling the most printable pictures. Here are the full rankings:

1. Conqueror Kings (Hideyoshi, Hanbee, Mitsunari, Yoshitsugu, Sakon)
2. Setouchis (Motonari, Motochika, Tsuruhime, Magoichi, Hideaki, Tenkai)
3. Oushuus (Masamune, Kojuurou, Katsuie, Yoshiaki, Itsuki)
4. Manly Men (Shingen, Yukimura, Sasuke, Yoshihiro, Musashi, Kennyo)
5. Demon Lords (Nobunaga, Nouhime, Ranmaru, Mitsuhide, Nagamasa, Oichi)
6. Emperors (Yoshiteru, Hisahide, Maria, Shikanosuke, Wabisuke, Sabisuke)
7. Bonds (Ieyasu, Tadakatsu, Naotora, Ujimasa, Kotarou, Ieyasu [young version])
8. Regional Lords (Yoshishige, Hirotsuna, Yoritsuna, Harumasa, Haruhisa, Kanetsugu)
9. Three 'Bee's (Hanbee, Kanbee, Matabee)
10. Kyuushuus (Xavi, Sourin, Muneshige, Kanbee, Matabee)
11. Loves (Kenshin, Kasuga, Keiji, Toshiie, Matsu, Yoshimoto)
12. Sengoku Gourmet Association (Hideaki, Kojuurou, Matsu)
13. Tiger-users (Hirotsuna, Yukimura, Naotora)

The final results will be posted on 12th April 2016 so there's still time for the teams in the lower rankings to turn things around. It's sort of impressive that the Regional Lords are doing well if nothing else though I think having the Three 'Bee's splitting votes for those characters might have given their rivals a boost. Fight on, Kanetsugu.

Capcom are working on more mobile games, including something for Sengoku Basara

Sengoku Basara was mentioned by name when Capcom recently announced that they were planning to release four new mobile games in the next year to expand their reach. The article focuses on the wider Asian market rather than the west, but there's always hope.

The latest Sengoku Basara merchandise updates

The previous set of stamps must have done well as Capcom announced that a new selection would be available from 1st April 2016. There are only three new designs, sadly: Masamune, Yukimura and Shingen. Each stamp is priced at ¥500.

Accompanying the stamps are two new TS inkan seal storage cases priced at ¥450 each. There's a black one with Masamune and Kojuurou on it, and a red one showing the Takeda army.

Last but not least come three new printed tote bags priced at ¥1,580 each, with designs for Masamune, Yukimura and Keiji. They were released on 2nd April 2016.

Incidentally, if you're still desperately trying to track down a copy of that elusive Sengoku Basara Motoki Yoshihara Illustrations art book it will apparently receive a wider release as of this Sunday when the preorder period is over. I recommend checking your favourite import store to see whether they can get hold of some stock once it's become easier to obtain.

Is Shingen being turned into a mascot character?

The Kofu regional tourist office has been teasing what must surely be a new yuru-kyara mascot version of Takeda Shingen in the lead-up to the Shingen Matsuri festival. They're promoting the whole festival using the Sengoku Basara version of Takeda Shingen and from their previews I strongly suspect that the mascot will resemble the Kofu x Capcom design below. Congratulations in advance to Shingen for being the third game character to make this particular jump into the real world!

I know a lot of regions are proud of their local Sengoku-era heroes but Kofu's efforts to increase tourism have been particularly fantastic recently, with the Sengoku Basara version of Shingen plastered all over the city and a local exhibition of the beautiful ink paintings from Sengoku Basara 4. Having been there in the past I can confirm it's a lovely place and well worth a visit if you're a fan.

(Please forgive the inconsistent lapses into my preferred spelling of Koufu over the course of this blog.)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Streaming: Winter 2016 anime final impressions

What a solid season this has been for anime! There have been the usual trials and tribulations of trying to watch everything legally without the opportunity being yanked away by the industry at every turn, but I've still managed to have a lot of fun in between the challenges of my real life duties.

Crunchyroll and Daisuki have been providing the most attractive service this season with most of the big shows covered, though Daisuki is crippled by lengthy delays for its Funimation titles even though there's nowhere else to watch them. Exclusivity sucks. Still, we have Funimation's new UK service starting up soon and things should improve if that's a success. I didn't bother subscribing to The Anime Network in the end because three shows (only one of which I wanted to see) aren't enough to be worth a subscription and their push for exclusivity annoyed me. Viewster has crashed and burned and I don't think that they're going to be offering anything to UK fans for a while if the rumours are to be believed. It's a shame; I really wanted them to work out as a Europe-wide alternative to Hulu. As for Animax UK... well, I keep hoping they'll quietly give up and leave the country if they can't commit to providing a basic level of service. They're an absolute joke.

Here's my ranking at the end of the winter season.

1. Osomatsu-san
2. Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi (Erased)
3. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

It was a tough choice. The quality of my favourites has been insanely high lately, and several of the shows which didn't make the top three would easily have qualified in quieter seasons. I was surprised by how much I ended up looking forward to each new episode of my top choices.

The season in which I become obsessed with this weirdo