Jul 17, 2009
12 of 12 episodes seen
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Sengoku Basara is a shōnen anime set during the Sengoku Jidai, or ‘Warring States period’ of Japanese history, and is based on Capcom’s Playstation 2 video game Devil Kings (known as Sengoku Basara in Japan). It should be noted that Sengoku Basara is a world away from the period it draws its inspiration from – it's not historically accurate by any means. That said, a few features associated with the period, such as the rivalry between Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, and the Oda clan’s use of firearms, are present. The characters, for the most part, are all taken from the era, although the manner
in which they are presented is obviously highly fictionalized.
Sengoku Basara is a fairly typical tale of good versus evil. Initially it may not seem so simple, as we are presented with many factions fighting for control over Japan. Eventually though, they come together to fight a common enemy; namely, Oda Nobunaga. As in Capcom’s Onimusha franchise, he is presented as some sort of demon. Overall, the story certainly isn't anything to write home about. Spanning a total of 12 episodes, the series does a decent job of wrapping things up within its time limit, although it can feel rushed at times.
As you can probably tell from the poster, there are a lot of characters in Sengoku Basara. For an anime of its length, this isn’t something that works to its advantage. Perhaps inevitably, character development is not one of its strong points, and this is one area where the anime can seem rushed. This is a shame, as we are introduced to several interesting characters such as Chōsokabe Motochika, the so called 'Demon of Onigashima', only for them to receive almost no screen time whatsoever (other than as forgettable reinforcements during the final battle). Equally disappointing is the fact that some of the characters that do feature heavily aren't given any significant fights of their own. You may find yourself waiting for a confrontation between a pair of characters, only to be disappointed when it never happens.
The characters themselves are a varied bunch, with Date Masamune being perhaps the most interesting. Arrogant with the strength to back it up and full of ridiculous one liners like ‘put ya guns on!’, it’s no surprise that he has been likened to Dante, the protagonist of Capcom’s Devil May Cry franchise. He also incorporates English into his speech, which is refreshing. Other characters, however, don't fare as well. Listening to Yukimura as he constantly reminds us that he’s burning with passion, for example, can quickly become tiresome.
An anime set during times of war, it's no surprise that most of the enjoyment from this series comes from its many over-the-top action sequences: one swing of an axe causing a tornado; a robot samurai with a jet pack and a massive drill for a weapon; and so on.
One final thing to note about Sengoku Basara (for you blood and gore enthusiasts) is that the violence is pretty modest - even by shōnen standards. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any deaths! Of course, if this sort of stuff doesn't bother you in the slightest, you'll be fine.
+ Interesting presentation of the Warring States period. If you know a thing or two about the period, you're likely to squeeze more enjoyment out of it (unless historical inaccuracies put you off).
+/- Series is short in length but has a large, varied cast of characters. As a result, character development isn't a highlight.
- A few annoying characters that you'll have to tolerate (subjective, depending on what you're definition of annoying is).
+/- Rather modest levels of violence.
Overall, Sengoku Basara is OK. Some of its characters may be annoying, character development isn’t great, and the final confrontation arguably leaves much to be desired. However, I'm sure many will find it entertaining. Generally speaking, if you think the idea of a guy wielding six swords simultaneously (only two hands!) is just plain awesome, you should probably give this one a try.
Final Score: 7/10 (Reasonable)