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Sengoku Basara: The Last Party

Erm…no.

I guess given that Tokugawa Ieyasu was a good guy in the first Sengoku Basara, they couldn’t make him the villain in this case. But reviving Oda Nobunaga via Oichi’s weird black magic crap? And Oda Nobunaga wasn’t even killed by the protagonists? That’s pretty damn lame. Also, Akechi Mitsuhide died at Oichi’s hands too, without any fanfare. I guess it’s an appropriate, but annoyingly lame death.

Also, who the hell is the Magistrate? He first helped with the revival of Oda, then later tried to fight him? Initially, I thought it was a heavily bandaged Oda Nobunaga. That, frankly, would have been a better option.

I get that the series should end with rivals Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura duking it out. But the way it get to that point was just…anticlimactic to the max. Also, I know the Battle of Sekigahara is an important battle in Japanese history, because it effectively marked the end of the Sengoku Era and the start of the Tokugawa period. But using it as the staging point of the final battle, yet NOT ending with the unification of Japan? Meh.

Also, all that talk about Tokugawa wanting to unite Japan via bonds? He ended up fighting Mitsunari at the end anyway. What was he trying to do, forge bonds by fighting? It wasn’t even made clear. And frankly, I feel bad for the real Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Tokugawa Ieyasu was popularly known as the guy who waited for his opportunity, and when he took over, he immediately set about consolidating his power in a less than friendly manner. So bigging him up is pretty discourteous to the two other unifiers of Japan who did a lot of work too. Hell, Toyotomi even has the right to claim that he was the first to unify Japan, just never held on to it.

Ah well. It’s shōnen that refuses to show blood when a blade cuts bare skin. I should’ve lowered expectations. Damn it.

Sengoku Basara 2

Welp, that was a bit underwhelming.

I was thinking it was going to use the same formula as the first Sengoku Basara, with a ton of machismo and fighting, but it ended up being filled with drama. Now, I love it when there is character development, but the entire premise of Sengoku Basara was never about adding depth to the characters. It was about being manly men and fighting.

And the characters weren’t really that well-developed throughout the 12 episodes anyway. We got to see glimpses of Hanbei’s weird devotion, but nothing more. We get hints of Keiji and Hideyoshi’s relationship, but nothing more. The only one who really saw any development was blatantly being sent on a journey to develop his character, and that was Yukimura. But even then, it merely gave him a bit of introspection, before turning him into what he was before Sengoku Basara 2, except his eyes see further than what is in front of him. That’s pretty lame, all things considered.

They tried to make Mori Motonari an arrogant villain, but he felt inadequate as a villain really. And Toyotomi Hideyoshi…I guess they didn’t include him in the first Sengoku Basara because they needed him as the main villain for the sequel. But as a villain, he plainly sucked. He wasn’t all demonic and evil and trying to rain terror down on the world. He just wants to conquer, and wants to make the country strong. So that’s his ideology, and that’s the way he sets about conquering Japan. I don’t see how that’s very evil, and how that makes him any different from Takedas Shingen. Hell, if we’re talking personalities, Motonari has a far worse one than Hideyoshi.

They also tried to introduce Matsunaga as one of the guys with fingers in every pie, and made him the culprit behind Hideyoshi’s sudden change from good friend of Keiji’s, to ‘HULK SMASH!’ conqueror. Again, it feels like lazy writing, inventing a convenient circumstance to develop this ‘evil’ version of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. I can understand demonising Oda Nobunaga, since he had a reputation of being ruthless, but Toyotomi Hideyoshi was more than willing to form alliances, and only fought when necessary. It’s likely why he succeeded when Nobunaga failed.

I thought the first Sengoku Basara, despite having exaggerated fights, didn’t really see that big an influence the heroes had on the actual battle. It was impossible, the way the heroes fought, but even seeing all those soldiers flying away from the fire tornado or whatnot, the actual army doesn’t seem affected. The generals influenced the battle mainly through commanding the armies. Whereas in Sengoku Basara 2, Hideyoshi turned the entire sea dry through brute strength, then grounded the Fugaku of Chosokabe. I can take ridiculous 1v1 battles, but a single man turning the tide literally? No thanks. Also, Yukimura stopped the Nichirin on his own too.

The final fights ended really poorly too. Yukimura took out Motonari in a flash. Hanbei lost pretty quickly to Kojuro. And Hideyoshi bashed on Masamune for a while, before it ended almost instantly.

All in all, while I don’t dislike Sengoku Basara 2, it felt more like a chore to finish up the series rather than genuine enjoyment from the sequel. I can only hope the movie turns out better than this.