Quick Thoughts On Sengoku Basara

So recently I had the opportunity to watch the historical/period/omfgwtfbbq anime Sengoku Basara. It was… An experience, I’ll say that much. Alright, I’ll just get it out of the way, Sengoku Basara is completely fucking ridiculous. The writing is so horrible and filled with Deus Ex Machina, with spontaneous M@GIX solving half of the conflicts and characters dying and being magically being resurrected at the drop of a hat. It’s one of the stupidest shows I’ve ever seen, much like Gurren Lagann was in many ways.

And much like Gurren Lagann, I loved it.

AYUU REDI GAIZ!? PUTCHA GANZAN!!!!!!!

What is it that makes Sengoku Basara so awesome? I think a lot of it is its refuge in audacity. It’s entertaining almost the whole way, despite its stereotypical plot and characters,  precisely because it’s so ridiculous. It’s more than just watching shit blow up, it’s like watching Napoleon Bonaparte punching a hole in the alps to fight Czar Alexander at Austerlitz. I don’t know about you, but that would hold my attention, and it certainly does for Sengoku Basara.

Napoleon: His horse is a goddamn motorcycle.

One thing I did notice though is that there is disparity in the entertainment-to-drama levels between the Sengoku Basara seasons. Season one is just about Yukimura and Date kicking enough ass to face the hilariously evil Oda Nobunaga in energy-to-energy combat. Season two tries to be more complex, including a somewhat sympathetic backstory for its villain and including little personal growth arcs for the main characters.

A battle in the rain. Dramatic.

Sometimes this more dramatic approach works. There’s a scene where Keiji Maeda and his… Brother? Cousin? I was never quite sure, but their conflicting ideals lead to a very tragic confrontation that really grays the moral landscape to an uncharacteristic level for Sengoku Basara. The wars and fighting are so destructive that they pit good people against good people. Keiji’s brother is fighting to protect his people from destruction, while Maeda is fighting to… Well, stop the fighting. To bring peace to the lands. It’s a really tragic scene. It made me sad at the very least.

Date Masamune: HIS horse is a goddamn motorcycle!

But overall I have to ask, why? To what end? What is the purpose of adding in this drama when it clashes so heavily with  everything else? The drama frequently just feels tacked on. I mean, as tragic as that scene is, it has very little effect on the story proper. It doesn’t change anything. Same with Toyotomi’s backstory, it’s not particularly meaningful as it is just manipulative. I think Sengoku Basara is at its strongest when it’s not trying to make deep points about the nature of war, because quite frankly, it sucks at that. I just wanna see a fucking motorbike horse, man.

To sum it up Sengoku Basara is pure entertainment, plain and simple. If you’re looking for something smart and engrossing, look elsewhere. If you’re looking to see Date Masamune fighting Sanada Yukimura with ENERGYJD!@@!@!!!!OMGWTFBBQ~!!#@!#! then this is definitely the show for you.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sushi GoKart
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 02:45:54

    Sengoku Basara is just so much fun and I’m glad they translated ove the humor from the video game… the little known devil kings!

    Reply

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