Sarasa grew up knowing that her twin brother Tatara was prophesied to be the "boy of destiny," the one who would overthrow the oppressive government and unite the people. When Tatara dies in battle, however, Sarasa realizes that it's up to her to secretly take on her brother's identity. On the way, Sarasa meets and falls in love with the mysterious Shuri, who may also have something up his sleeve. Together, she and her group of ragtag fighters journey across the land, attacking the many rulers and hoping to someday reach the leader of them all, the Red King.
Before I begin, I would like to say that I have read the first six volumes over ten times and the entire series twice-- and I have loved it as dearly as the first time I picked up a volume.
Basara is definitely an epic to consider if you are seeking an escape from today's world. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this tale begins with the birth of two twins, Tatara and Sarasa, and follows the latter's journey to create a better world for her people.
The first thing I would like to address is the art. Despite the seemingly haphazard lines that initially deterred
me, I grew to love it. There is a certain elegance in these pages that takes a little time to notice. It is very much an easily acquired taste, and I am now enchanted by this style.
The storyline seems a little simplistic-- overthrow the king and create a new country. Yet the simple sentence above implies so many complications-- gathering the trust of men, getting close to the king. Sarasa starts practically from scratch and works her way up-- she does not have it easy, and she knows it, yet she works her hardest to improve her situation as well as others', thus gaining their trust. The story, though it can a little slow when gathering reconnaissance about a certain place, stays intriguing for almost the entire series-- and with a whole 27 volumes, that's quite a feat.
As others have stated, the real gem in this series lies in the cast of characters. It is very difficult to stay organized with a large, fully-developed army of characters, but Tam-tam doesn't just stay organized-- she utilizes all of these characters to the fullest, and shows their development. They're not stagnant characters who never change their ways.
The most prominent example I can give of this is Shuri, the Red King. In the beginning, Shuri is pompous, overconfident; he is very reckless and cares little about the value of life-- especially those of individuals whom he knows nothing about. However, Sarasa and other situations teach him that every qlife is valuable, and by the end of the series, he has changed almost completely. No longer is he the reckless, overconfident, I-am-going-to-run-you-over-to-get-what-I-want sort of man; he has become a mature individual who acknowledges the things he has done but wants to help make it better.
Sarasa's development was quite beautiful as well. She started off her journey being a crybaby, constantly relying on others for help. As she moved on, as events forced her to separate from those she relied on, she became more and more independent-- so much so that she was afraid to lean on anyone for a while. She was most definitely human-- she was constantly in conflict with herself over her actions, she is afraid, she is still quite a crybaby. Yet she looks forward with a solid resolve to accomplish what she set out to do. At the end of the series, though still a crybaby, she is very much independent, very accomplished, very confident, and no longer the younger sister who was cast aside.
I must say, I really enjoyed all of the series, even though volumes 19-24 kept leading me on false hopes (both times, at the end of every chapter, I kept thinking, "Are they going to meet again?! What's going to happen? CRAP, THEY'RE NOT MEETING YET? GODDAMNIT, WHY?!"), it's a sign that Tam-tam definitely had a firm grip on the skill of keeping the reader hooked and on the edge of her or his seat.
In conclusion, Basara's intricate plot and full-fledged army (literally) of characters should not be turned away by the seeming messiness of the art. This manga's brilliant plot and well-rounded characters provide the majority of this manga's fanbase. Definitely a must-read epic, Basara has won over my heart-- and as I did last time, I shall be thinking of Sarasa and Shuri for weeks on end!
“Sarasa, even if you feel that destiny is toying with you, destiny is something you design with your own hands.”
I love the fantasy genre. Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, Game of Thrones... stories with a truly epic feel, huge sword battles, intricate political schemes and a mountain of well-developed characters. So, of course, it's no surprise that I searched for an epic fantasy manga series when I began to get into the wonderful world of manga and anime. I read a few, they were okay... And then I found Basara.
Outstanding world building? Check. Incredible character development? Check. Huge, encompassing political wars? Check.
And, the thing that drew me in the most; delicate, well-handled relationships between characters including but not limited to a forbidden romance, deep rooted friendships, loyal servants, and vengeful enemies? Check. Let's start with the basics.
Yes, the art started off rather... ugly. There's no disguising that fact. It wasn't all that pleasing to look at, there wasn't much detail, and sometimes character's faces looked really messed up. So why the nine? Just like the characters, the art developed from something ugly into something beautiful and detailed, unique yet simple. Battle scenes became easy to understand but still incredibly detailed, and every single character grew into someone beautiful and unique. I had no trouble distinguishing one character from another--they all had certain physical traits and looks that made them easy to tell apart. If you're worried about the art, I encourage you to ignore the ugliness at the beginning, because you'll certainly be rewarded later on. And when you look back, it's interesting, even amusing, to see how the mangaka's art has progressed.
I'm not going to bother with a huge synopsis because it'd be too long and wouldn't do the story any justice. I know people worry about certain things in the story so I'll put any hesitations about the story you have to rest now--the pacing, first of all, was fantastic. The story gripped you and brought you up to dizzying heights of excitement, then slowly released you only to sweep you up again. There was never a moment where I felt bored, never a moment I didn't want to continue reading. Sarasa's journey grew from simple vengeance into trying to save the people of her world, and it worked. The story development was realistic, and though it was pretty unpredictable, there was never anything that happened that seemed like the author just did it on a whim. Going back, you could see the foreshadowing, but while reading it was near impossible to predict what would happen next. The overall plot was extremely well thought out, and the length was spot on for what needed to be done. What needed to be done leads me to the ending... not giving anything away, but it was very satisfying. No huge cliffhangers, no things left undone, nothing that needed to be revealed, and nothing rushed in.
Where do I even begin? I HATED Sarasa at the beginning. I mean, I completely loathed her. She was a crying mess of girly 'please save me' cliches and 'no, I don't want to hurt anybody!' Ok, honey, grow up. Yes, your friends will get hurt if you don't fight. No, you can't save the world by loving everybody. Deal with it. Oh, but she did. She went above and beyond dealing with it--she became an ass-kicking, confident badass who led an army, and one of my favourite characters of all time. Definitely my favourite female character of all time. And Shuri. Man, he was a spoiled little cliche evil dude with his 'yeah I'm gunna kill this village for no reason because I can, and because you're a bunch of puny pukes who don't obey me... suck it up, princess.' But then you find out his reasoning. But then he falls in love. But then his morals and actions change and all of a sudden he's endearing, brave, kind, and fiercely loyal to the people he loves. Then comes in other side characters who help Sarasa and Shuri, who somehow manage to not be cliched whatsoever and all loveable. Ageha in particular stands out--the mysterious man searching for the one woman he'd heard about in a prophecy who would be worthy of his service. So many characters, each with their own hopes, dreams, sense of justice and development... It was so amazing to see the world from each different person's eyes so you understood all sides of the story, and so wonderful to see how they all interact.
I freaking love the shit out of this series. It's the only 27 book series I've actually bought all of the books of, because I read it over and over and never get tired of it. It has everything, I mean EVERYTHING a high fantasy should. Well, except for orcs. Though I think this J.R.R. Tolkien quote should describe the world of Basara nicely--
“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
Ahh I read this after reading the reviews about how awesome this manga was and honestly it seriously is a freaking awesome manga.
The storyline starts off with a girl Sarasa living in the shadow of her twin brother who is the "chosen one." Shit goes down and eventually Sarasa lives out her tale. The pretense of the storyline is definitely unique but nothing too out of the ordinary. It takes place in historical times with emperors and kings and all that jazz. (Reminds me of Akatsuki no Yona but less shoujo-y) The only big miss for me is that the author includes so many
people and so many places that sometimes I couldn't follow up on what was happening. And if you're anything like me and can't remember characters names, you will probably get hella confused while reading. I got the hang of it once I got more than halfway through. Other than that the plot and storyline were very enjoyable. But I have to say now that I've finished reading I understand that each location and each encounter was vital to the plot so yeah. I mean the mangaka could've excluded some things but I'm glad he/she didnt. If you start reading and you get frustrated please continue because you won't regret it!
The romance is very prevalent throughout this story. All I'm gonna say is that it seriously reminded me of Romeo and Juliet. I can't say more or else I'll spoil it for you!
The characters, although many, were very well developed and lovable. You get a taste of each character and because of this you will get attached. God I grew so fond of so many characters. At the end the mangaka also includes a little series of chapters delving into the lives of the characters after the whole story. If you like that sort of thing then yeah that happens here.
The art is pretty old fashioned but I really like old fashioned mangas so I didn't really have a problem. The only thing is that some panels would be drawn weird so I couldn't understand what was happening. The art wasn't coherent at times but it happened very rarely so yeah you'll be fine.
Overall I would give this an 8/10. Just for some minor flaws here and there but I seriously enjoyed this story. The plot wasn't shallow and the whole time I was pretty captivated into reading more. I would suggest giving this a shot!
The first I landed on this story I was abit anxious and was asking myself do i need to read it or not, is it interesting, or will the story will drag itself!? No Basara from the first time i read it had captured me wholly!? The characters, storyline and art everything was perfect!?
I loved the story so much I couldn't stop myself from reading!? The suspense and the surprises and twists in the storyline keep on capturing more and more!?
The story is about Japan during the end of the monarchy!? The child of destiny who is a girl (thats definitely a
huge merit for having a strong female lead) will change the destiny of a whole nation!? The story takes you through the trails and tribulations of the characters!?
It is just a beautifully written story I strongly recommend it for people who like to live with the characters and feel their emotions throughout their lifelong trials in the story!?The storyline and characters just come out to life, you will experience everything!?