Having never played the Capcom game by the same name, I had no previous expectations on what to expect this series. It is always exciting though to hear that another video game franchise comes to life in the form of anime. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings is a 13 episode series licensed by FUNimation. The series combines feudal Japan with fantasy and science fiction. Main villain Oda Nobunaga explodes onto the scene in episode two leaving a wake of blood, fire and lightning in his path and forcing the generals of Japan into a somewhat uneasy alliance to try and take him down. What happens from here on, is the emergence of a single foe, Oda Nobunaga. Then, the group of enemies are forced to put together an army of armies and join forces to conquer the villian. Pretty standard stuff, but even if the series is light on story, it has plenty of good action and slick visuals to compensate.
Before I continue on, I will just make the obvious point; fans of the franchise will want to pick it up for sure. It is really well done. As a person who has never played the game, I can observe that newbies to the show may be confused story-wise. Not much to say on the creative side, but seeing people beat the heck out of each other has never looked crazier. It’s flashy, and focuses more on the absurd style which is filled with intense action. The story seems to end with episode 12, only to veer off in a new direction in episode 13 which can only mean a sequel in the future.
The series was animated by Production I.G., and directed by Itsuro Kawasaki. Originally airing in 2009, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. I think they did a great job upping the visual on high def and it looked rather colorful on my HDTV while viewing. Reminded me alot of Dragon Ball Z as they lit up the screen with bright balls of energy. In addition to the action, you’ll be glad to hear it doesn’t get too gloomy, providing the amount of comic relief that is contained within. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings offers a unique take on the battles of the Warring States period of Japan’s history. History buffs might be a bit upset to know that it doesn’t necessarily depict accurate events from the history of Sengoku Basara.
So why watch Sengoku Basara? Well, it is a short trip at only 13 episodes and the visuals are very clean. The cast is decent and the voice over is mainly on an average scale. That said, it isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It really is just the kind of show you watch when you just want to see something explode or crash. And what is wrong with shutting your brain off and having a little fun?
In summary, history buffs should eat this one up. For example there are sly little story bits to watch out for such as Date Masamune’s active encouragement of foreign trade. To everyone else, just enjoy the explosions and pretty colors. Video game fans will love to see where this one goes, as well. It is definetely declared successful when you can attain all these demographics. It’s a good action packed tale of samurai old fashioned warfare. Gaming anime is something that I look forward too rather then live-action adaptation because they are made with more care and concentration. While almost everyone has heard of Pokemon, there are plenty that deal with more complex and slightly more adult themes like Sengoku Basara. There isn’t a dull moment to be found in any of the episodes. My intellect may not have been challenged by it, but I can’t deny what a good time I had watching this series. This anime comes highly recommended.