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DVD Review

DVD cover

Sengoku Basara
Samurai Kings
The Complete 2nd Season


Starring (voice): Kazuya Nakai, Norio Wakamoto and Souichiro Hoshi
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 17 September 2012

In the chaos that was represented by the Sengoku (warring states) Period, Japanese societies authority from a central government broke down, leading to over one hundred and fifty years of constant fighting as the regional warlord rose up to fill the power vacuum. In this age of turmoil two young warriors from rival clans, Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamuna, find themselves in an unlikely alliance to stop the Demon Lord Oda Nobunaga...

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings - The Complete 2nd Season is a twelve episode anime series based on a long running series of games. The thirteen episodes of the show are spread across a two DVD set. The show gets a good transfer, with a choice of either an English DD 5.1 dub or the original DD 2.0 Japanese track.

When season two opens the demon lord has been defeated and the clans are back to fighting like cats trying to determine a hierarchy, one based on violence and might, rather than diplomacy, which might work in another medium, but in anime the answer is violence all the way. This time around, the fantastic has been replaced with a power struggle between very human antagonists.

As this period of history is an important element of Japanese cultural identity, it is little wonder that in a technological age the main characters should reappear in a video game, the European equivalent of all those knight and dragons which keep popping up. Of course, there has not been a good history of games being transposed into film without them turning into kack.

Sengoku Basara has elements of this, certainly the second season diverges further from historical fact and more into the ‘fight of the week’ which appears to typify much of Japanese animation shows, but this in many ways was inevitable as it was based on the game rather than historical fact.

Taken on its own terms, Sengoku Basara is not a bad show, though as it moves away from its historical roots, even if that did contain supernatural elements, it becomes, as a consequence, a more generic product.

The disc comes with a number of extras, kicking off with a full length commentary on disc one with ADR director Christopher Bevins, worth a listen, but be careful it contains spoilers, sweety. Disc two also has a commentary on episode twelve with voice actors, Eric Vale, Rob McCullom, and Chris Cason; it’s more of a relaxed chat than any deep review of the show. The disc also contains a number of welcome shorts.

How much you’re going to like this second season depends on how much you liked the first, much of the supernatural elements have been removed, replaced by a show which lends itself more to the average anime show, than anything distinctive? It’s not a bad show, but I question whether it does enough to pull itself above the pack?


Charles Packer

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