Full of scantily clad dudes and some incredible action, Sengoku Basara presents enough for any anime fan to enjoy. Based of the hit Capcom beat’em up games, the show is set in a fictional version of Warring States period in Japan. Various warlords like Masamune Date, Yukimura Sanada and other fight across Japan for power and glory. This first season was directed by Itsuro Kawasaki, famous for other shows like Legend of the Legendary Heroes and L/R: Licensed by Royalty, with the second season being done by Kazuya Nomura, director of Robotics;Notes and the Sengoku Basara: The Last Party. Both seasons were produced by Production I.G., which boasts some of the best work they’ve ever done, in terms of fighting animation and overall quality, that make it some of the best eye candy they’ve ever done. While the series definitely takes some liberties to Japanese history, in terms aesthetics and design, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings is a great action show and some of the most fun I’ve had in a while.
The first two episodes alone were enough to have me hooked, in terms of the quality and content within. Production I.G does an amazing job to illustrate the intensity and scope of the series with the meeting of Masamune Date and Yukimura Sanada. They cause giant waves of energy to bounce off of one another and even a massive mushroom cloud explosion to show off their manliness and fierce fighting spirit. It is the equivalent to the summer Hollywood blockbuster film and I was just grinning from ear to ear as various battles played out for the first 13 episodes. The second half is a bit different and offers up a little bit more than just flair and eye candy, which is due to the main antagonist, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. In the first season, Oda Nobunaga was a man of pure evil and gave real reason for the various warlords to take up arms against him. With Toyotomi, there’s a real sense of struggle because he is trying to unify the land in order to make a strong country of Japan. With this in place, many of the allies from the first season become villains, not in the evil sense but men trying to find a way to contribute to what they think is a noble cause. It is this conflict that helps raise the stakes and offers much more to those that have already invested within the world of Sengoku Basara.
The video on the Blu-Ray discs of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings are encoded in a 1080p, AVC transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The HD transfer of Sengoku Basara places their efforts at the forefront and it passes with flying colors. Its just as sharp as the first season and Production I.G. continues their level of quality that they set with season one. The DVD’s that are included look great as well, they’re just presented in standard definition.
For both seasons of the series, the audio comes in two versions, the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel and the Japanese Dolby True HD 2.0. The mix of the 5.1 track is extremely impressive with the use of incredible panning and its ability to draw one into the large battle sequences. The 2.0 track was the one I stuck mostly, due to the fact that since the show takes place in ancient Japan, it seemed much more suitable that way.
There are a solid amount of extras, which include a series of shorts and episode commentaries for various episodes. The animation shorts, which show the various characters in chibi form, that get into all kinds of hijinks, in recreating certain situations from the series. Overall, there’s a lot of fun and some great information contained within these extras and with extras being extremely scarce, these are certainly a welcome addition to any series being put out.
When taking both seasons into account, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings offers something for any anime fan. Hot looking guys for girls to oggle over, insanely great animation for animation enthusiasts and tons of fight scenes that guys would go ape shit over. Funimation has done a solid with releasing Sengoku Basara here and it should be seen for anyone and everyone looking for a great time with and energetic and exciting anime that will pass the time pleasantly. Highly Recommended!