Let me just start off by saying that I am a HUGE Sengoku BASARA fan. Like, seriously big. I have all the video games including all the games that haven't been translated into English, I have several of the manga spin offs both in English and Japanese, I have the whole anime series AND I even have a freaking Date Masamune cell phone charm, So when I say I'm a mega-BASARA freak, I'm not kidding. Pretty much the only things I don't have are action figures (because they creep me out in general) and maybe a few miscellaneous items such as the alarm clock, stickers, etc. It's pretty much a mania borderlining obsession (and a little embarrassing in all honesty).
So, with all that said, I absolutely adore Sengoku BASARA but I was completely disappointed by the third season.
*Note: this review may include spoilers
BASARA has never been a historically accurate series and it's obvious to people who didn't even know it was supposed to be historical fiction in the first place, however, in my opinion I feel that it was this inaccuracy that gave BASARA its charm. I've had a lot of fun with this series watching it and then Googling everything to see how much is true and I've learned a lot of interesting facts about Japan's Sengoku period.
Season one was by FAR the best in the series, but slowly but surely I found that it was starting to lose its charm as they continued making seasons. The story started losing quality until it got to season three, which was definitely one of the poorest written storyline I've seen, which is really saying something considering how much anime I haven't liked but have forced myself to watch.
During season three, I felt like I was watching a really badly written fanfiction and I just couldn't get into this plot. There was a lot of, not quite "fan service", but a lot of fluff that didn't make sense in the overall story and it was just BAD. It really pains me to say this, but I was not impressed by season three (obviously). It just seemed to have lost the novelty that it started out with.
It basically said, "none of season 1 or 2 or even the movie happened, so this is the new story" and then retold the whole series in a completely different, unappealing way. I mean, for God's sake, there were ZOMBIES in the finale. WHERE did that even come from? It made really no sense in any way. (Although I will admit, I do have a slight interest in zombies and kind of briefly wondered what it would be like to see the BASARA cast fighting them.... But you didn't hear that from me.)
I get that it was trying to follow game 3's storyline, but it just wasn't executed well. I think if they really wanted to use the third game' story, they should have picked it up from the end of season 2 again and fixed BASARA's Last Party into a more coherent series.
I'm not quite sure why BASARA switched from Production I.G (animation company that produced all the seasons up 'til now) to Telecome Animation Studio, but it shouldn't have. While T.A.S uses really nice, vivid colors unlike I.G studios, the style is just too different and a lot of times I felt that the proportions looked really awkward or not realistic.
With the different style too, even though it was the same characters, after seeing the same style for two seasons and a movie this season looked like a fan drew the whole thing in an attempt to look like the original.
I will say the sound was as nice as ever. BASARA does make a point of getting all the "big seiyuu" and they're all really good at what they do (duh). I was really glad that none of the voices changed, especially from game to anime (I mean the Japanese cast). All the voices from the game got their respective roles in the anime, so that was really good.
The soundtrack this time round was aslo really different in style, but it kind of worked out anyway. Hiroyuki Sawano is an amazing composer and I'm disappointed I didn't get to hear his music this time round, but Masahiro Tokuda is not one to be under-estimated either and has a very cool, unique style that seemed to fit.
I felt that all the characters seemed too OOC (out of character) and none of it felt "right". I am glad that this season included some of the characters from the third BASARA game (brand new characters at the time) but on the other hand, I think that with all the new characters, they kind of took away from the "original" cast like Masamune, Yukimura, etc.
In addition to this, there is one brief moment when Masamune and Yukimura are talking alone, and it felt kind of like they were on a date and I was watching a shounen-ai or something. I mean, BASARA has always had a "man-crush" kind of theme like, "respect thy rival" and all that, but this was just too much and WAY overdone.
None of the characters made sense and it was kind of hard to like them, and this is coming from someone who has played all the games and seen the anime at least 3 times. I just couldn't get into this season, and I pretty much consider it the "ba****d" season of the show because I refuse to accept it.
I think the overall reason that I disliked this season was because it was so different from everything that already came out. I'm kind of orthodox that way; I hate change and I hate things that change drastically - which is how I would describe season three in the nicest way possible.
Overall, even despite my BASARA mania, I REALLY couldn't get into this season and I honestly don't recommend it. If you don't want your image of the BASARA cast shattered into a million tiny pieces or if you liked the original story and cast the way they were, AVOID THIS SEASON AT ALL COSTS.
Go back to season one, is my suggestion.