Review: Sengoku Basara is obviously and purely a manly anime. There are countless spectacular battle sequences and surreal fight scenes. The good news is that these scenes are very well animated. But the bad news is that the anime fails in most of other areas and, worse, shamelessly betrays itself in the end.
As if there wasn’t enough anime focusing in this period of history, Sengoku Basara sets itself in the warring states of feudal Japan. Multiple lords and factions are struggling for power over the lands. The situation takes a sharp turn when Oda Nobunaga (the Dark Lord) appears and is about to turn Japan into a burnt waste land. Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune are famous warriors from two rival factions. Under the new threat of Nobunaga, they are forced to work together and form a new alliance to bring down the Dark Lord.
The plot is really this simple and predictably very predictable from beginning to the end. But that is not the point for anime of this genre which aims for pure adrenaline rush. What matters the most is the execution and details which, if done right, will give the show depth and emotions. Sengoku Basara fails in this department, though I cannot say that the creators didn’t give it a try. Sengoku Basara is nothing but loud noises and flashy colors. The characters are all hastily introduced and are quickly rushed into series of mind-numbing actions. Apparently, all the anime wants us to know about each character are their appearances and weapon of choice. Few awkward insertions of drama subplots are half-heartedly made but with far from solid characterization, these scenes seem rather too forceful. Despite all the said flaws, I do admire this anime for certain small details like the occasional use of outlandish English by Masamune and how he accessorizes his steed.
Obviously, the strongest quality of Sengoku Basara lies in the production with its stunning action sequence, fluid character movement, perfect background art and lots of beautiful landscape shots. The original score is charged with energy and the feeling of grandiose.
As for the ending, I personally do not approve of it. As thin as the story maybe, Sengoku Basara has always been about good guys getting together to defeat bad guys in hope of keeping peace and building the land of their dreams. But at the end, after the bad guys are eliminated, the good guys literally turn against each other battling and fighting again. What irritates me the most is how happy they look when the land is finally at peace and they have a chance to start a war again. So much for the talk of peace and ideals, these people are no different from the bad guys they has just defeat. Despite all their preaching and big manly talks, they are all blood seekers, war addicts that enjoy and cherish fighting. I was utterly disgusted.
Conclusion: Sengoku basara, despite its first class production, is shallow, one dimensional and worst of all, it betrays its own ideal at the end. Watch it only for the sight and sound.
Title: Sengoku Basara
Genre: action, fantasy
Release date: April 1, 2009 – June 17, 2009
Director: Itsuro Kawasaki
Animated by: Production I.G
ps. Sengoku Basara season 2 will be released this upcoming season. Yes, that’s why I am reviewing the first season now and no, I will probably not going to watch it.